Social Media is a wonderful tool to reaching a wide range of audience members while giving your business a personal touch. Being able to interact with your consumers leads to trust, brand loyalty and viral awareness. Having said that, mistakes that are made on the world wide web cannot be erased and will be pinned to your reputation for a long, long time.
Some companies choose to undertake Social Media themselves, unaware of trends, news or social media etiquette while others hire firms that take their eyes off the prize for a mere second and blow the roof off all the hard work they’ve been handling. Make a mistake and people notice. People really love mistakes and by the time you get around to deleting that tweet or post it has already been screen captured, retweeted and sent to Failblog or Buzzfeed. Here are some of the worst social media fails zipping around the net.
In March 2011, Chrysler’s twitter account posted an obscene tweet abusing Detroit and their drivers. The company was quick to apologize and explain that someone from their social media agency had tweeted that by accident, thinking he was logged into his personal account. Needless to say, they are now their ex-agency.
Everyone’s favourite diamond-in-the-rough Susan Boyle’s PR team decided to use Twitter to promote her new album’s promotional event. After what I can only imagine was a 5 minute meeting, where the execs were too busy checking their blackberrys for cat videos rather than brainstorming an actual strategy, they decided on the hashtag #susanalbumparty. They even paid to have this tweet promoted. The result? Thousands of tweets referring to Boyle’s upcoming anal bum party and a rush to change the tag to #SusanBoylesAlbumParty.
Bob Parsons, the CEO of major hosting company Go Daddy decided to post a video of himself on their social media channels killing an elephant and a leopard. The result was public outrage with thousands of customers signing on to rival providers and PETA naming Parsons the “Scummiest CEO of the Year.” Rather than apologise, Parsons began denouncing his haters and defending his actions.
In July 2011 the world was gripped by the Casey Anthony verdict case. Twitter and Facebook was a buzz with predictions, opinions and disgust at the proceedings. It was during this storm that donut firm Entenmann’s social media agency decided to use the hastag #notguilty to promote their products. It became obvious that one of the executives looked at what words were trending and rather than research why the tag was at the top of list, decided to just piggyback for maximum exposure.
It was a sad day in America when the Aurora cinema massacre took place. People took to Twitter to voice their support for the victims and their pleas for gun control. The hashtag #Aurora began trending as more and more viewers used the social media site to voice their concerns and pain at the event. British fashion site Celebboutique saw that the tag was trending and took it to mean that their Aurora dress. Rather than click on the trend to see what people were actually speaking about they decided to post a horrendous tweet. The company later apologised and said that there were not aware of the situation in America.
Hurricane Sandy dominated twitter for a time with companies tweeting tips and advice, journalists giving up to the minute updates and people discussing how the hurricane was affecting them at the time. With all eyes on the catastrophe, American Apparel decided to have a Sandy Sale for those who were bored during the storm. Needless to say, this did not earn them any brownie points.