Social media is one of the most powerful tools in your marketing strategy arsenal. While it can prove to be beneficial and incredibly lucrative, it can also lead to major missteps. If you find yourself dealing with the fallout from a social media marketing campaign, here are a few lessons that you can learn from and things that you should do.

Cool Visuals Must Be Chosen With Care

In the world of social media, eye-catching visuals are key; however, these must always be chosen only after careful research. You can learn from the mistake that American Apparel’s 2014 blunder. The company posted an image of climactic shots of smoke billowing into the sky which turned out to be from the tragic 1986 Challenger accident, where seven lives were lost.

Only Utilize Current Events Appropriately

Another social media catastrophe was when Cinnabon tried to connect with their customers after the death of the actress Carrie Fisher in 2016. Upon Fisher’s passing, Cinnabon posted a picture of Fisher adorned with cinnamon buns instead of her iconic movie hairstyle. The post was done to connect with customers, but instead, it came off as a tasteless, offensive and insensitive attempt to gain attention.

Keep Personal and Professional Accounts Separate

Another important lesson for anyone traversing the social media marketing landscape is to keep professional and personal lives separate. This is true for KitchenAid when an employee tweeted an offensive joke during the 2012 Election. The easiest way to achieve this is to give your employees who dabble in social media for the company a separate device.

Understand Hashtags and Use Them Appropriately

Many people use hashtags; however, not everyone understands them. The purpose is to consolidate and aggregate similar content and have it all available in one place under the same hashtag. In 2014, the pizza company DiGiorno made the mistake of using a hashtag associate with domestic violence to their product. Not only was this seen as grossly insensitive, but the lack of research led to severe backlash.

Automation Should Only Be Used Under Supervision

It has become easier and easier to interact with the digital world; however, there are also lessons to be learned from automation. Artificial intelligence will learn from its interactions and users; however, in 2016, Microsoft made the mistake of unveiling Tay, a conversational bot. Unfortunately, when users started conversing with it inappropriately, using racist and offensive language, Tay followed suit. Microsoft quickly removed this account and it has not resurfaced.

The lesson is that social media marketing can be powerful, but also dangerous tools if unmonitored; however, if you do your research and navigate this tool carefully, it can yield incredible results.