10 of the Biggest Social Media Marketing Fails (And What You Can Learn From Them)
It takes only seconds to send a tweet. Ironically, however, sometimes those same tweets can take a lifetime to forget.
Over the years we've seen our fair share of social media marketing fails, no doubt, but there are a few that stand dubiously taller than the rest.
The following incidents stand not as cases for ridicule - no doubt the people behind these disasters have already dealt with enough on that front - but as examples of what to avoid, and why you always need to be paying attention when dealing with social communications. Because even if you're not, everyone else will be.
Here are 10 of the most notorious examples of brand fails on social, and why they went so wrong.
1. Sensitivity Be Damned
Some of the disasters in this article were caused by negligence - i.e. someone wasn't paying attention and a mistake happened.
Others were caused by poor judgment, taste - or as in this case, both.
I don't need to explain why this wasn't a good idea, I'm pretty sure it speaks for itself. Suffice to say, it's not wise to take this angle with social media advertising.
2. If You Can't Beat 'Em, Join 'Em
So there's this company Blackberry. You may have heard of them.
You may also be aware that they have a Twitter app available for their smartphones.
Now you could probably safely assume that representatives of the company would be using their own devices for everything, especially in a public-facing venue like social media platforms. But you'd be wrong.
This has actually happened more than once: an official Blackberry tweet has been fired off from an iPhone, causing the internet to collectively facepalm.
3. How Diplomatic of You
It kind of matters what account you're logged into when you write out a tweet. I'd recommend making sure it's not a corporate account you have access to before you write terribly insensitive and/or politically divisive messages.
As one (former) KitchenAid employee had to learn the hard way, not obeying this rule can have significant consequences.
Without being aware they were signed into the official KitchenAid twitter account, this employee waxed political, and even used a family death for humor. A double-fail if there ever was one.
4. Understanding Hashtags
DiGiorno goofed pretty bad when it jumped on the bandwagon and tweeted out some comic relief on the hashtag #WhyIStayed - which empowered people to tell their stories of domestic abuse.
All that being said, we should give credit where credit is due. Upon being made aware of their mistake, DiGiorno issued personal apologies to every person on Twitter that expressed displeasure with their mistake.
Take a look for yourself.
5. A Bowl of Cereal Will Make It All Better
After the Boston Marathon bombing, support was pouring in for the victims and their families across all social media platforms.
Conde-Naste owned food website Epicurious figured it was an opportune moment to recommend two proprietary recipes to cheer folks up.
They then compounded the issue by copy/pasting a reply to outraged Twitter users.
6. It's A Fine Day For Shootin' Guns
Guns are a divisive issue at the best of times, so you'd think an organization like the NRA would have some form of checking system in place.
The Association bungled pretty badly when they tweeted asking "shooters" about their weekend plans, hours after the Aurora shootings in 2012.
7. #Aurora? What's that?
Believe it or not, the NRA wasn't the only organization to misstep after the Aurora tragedy - though theirs was a bit less egregious than the following (it was most likely a pre-scheduled tweet that went out from the NRA account).
Celeb Boutique went so far as to jump on board the #Aurora hashtag without so much as glancing at why it might be trending.
8. Speaking of Disasters...
I won't go into why this is messed up, because it's both obvious and redundant.
We've already covered why capitalizing on the misfortune of others is frowned upon. Notice a pattern?
9. It Wasn't Me
In 2011, the long-running Casey Anthony trial finally came to a close and the hashtag #NotGuilty started trending. And just like Celeb Boutique, the company managing Entenmann's social media jumped on board before taking a more thorough look.
Apologies afterward were thorough, but as we mentioned, the internet has quite the memory.
10. The Grand Finale
No doubt many of you are already aware of the story behind 'Amy's Baking Company'.
The restaurant, owned by a husband and wife team, was featured on TV, with a stint on Gordon Ramsay's "Kitchen Nightmares", in which Ramsay actually refused to continue on with them in light of personal differences.
What followed on social media is beyond bizarre, and definitely takes the cake as one of the greatest social media disaster of all time.
After getting in an all-out war on Reddit and Twitter, the company then issued a statement saying their page had been hacked.
But afterwards, they hired a PR firm to help them (who also walked out on them 5 days later), then they resumed trading blows with folks all over the internet.
There's far too much to include here, but I'll share some of the worst examples.
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