I recently wrote an article about social media wins. This time we’ll talk about epic social media fails. But first, some empathy, it’s not easy being a social media manager. There are moments when you think you are being a creative genius and then it backfires on you. There is also that constant fear of thinking what you just tweeted was a client’s account and not your own. But these are on another level. Perhaps it was an automation fail or just a tone-deaf ad campaign, either way, there are very few excuses for these social media disasters:Ever make a #socialmedia mistake? You're not alone! Check out these epic fails: Click To Tweet
Who could forget that horrific event that happened in April 2013? I think that everyone can attest to the fact that it was not a good time for a business to be plugging in their products. Epicurious thought that they could help their fans cope with the situation by offering the recipes of their scones. Right… because cooking scones was the first thing on everyone’s mind at that time. (SMH)
When President Obama was in his first presidential debate in October 2012 he had mentioned his Grandmother. Well an enraged social media manager accidentally posted on the company’s Twitter handle instead of their own saying, “Obamas gma even knew it was going 2 b bad! She died 3 days b4 he became president. #nbcpolitics.” Kitchenaid quickly took down the tweet and issued an apology. I bet that social media manager is in a different business now. Pro tip: Avoid politics and GRANDMA DEATH in your brand tweets.
There are times when an auto-responder can help out a social media team. Cases where I can see it being beneficial would be if you gain a new follower, receive a ReTweet or someone favorites your Tweet. I do not think it is a good idea to have them running consistently.
American Airlines obviously didn’t catch on to this in time and auto-responded to a disgruntled passenger by saying, “Thanks for your support! We look forward to a bright future as the #newAmerican.”
It is very obvious when you are not being genuine on social media and you will pay for it! Twitter users responded to American Airlines very quickly and their response was about as great as AA’s auto-responder. Lesson learned!
Shopping online during a hurricane? I think that most of the people that had to deal with the storm were not thinking about a pair of Gap jeans. This is another representation of when a brand should have stayed out of a hashtag. The brand came off as insensitive and caused uproar on Twitter. FYI: Don’t use a hashtag every time you see one. There are specific reasons for hashtags; very rarely is selling high-waisted jeans one of them.
I was at a loss for words when I first heard about this. The Home Depot posted a picture and asked, “Which drummer is not like the others” during a College Game Day promotion. I am not sure how this was approved during the social editorial calendar meeting, but apparently the agency that was representing them approved it. There are never any excuses for going over your posts without a fine-tooth comb ensuring that what you put out is not racist, won’t offend anyone and represents your brand in the right way. Home Depot deleted the Tweet later and told its following that they had fired the agency that posted that. Good call Home Depot. ICYMI: Brands don’t need to be bland, but they DO need to believe in equality. In 2014.
So maybe you’ve never made a mistake THIS epic, but I bet you’ve had your moments. Have you made a social media mistake? What happened and how did you respond?