When Social Media Missteps Go Viral | 8 Examples

Over time, we’ve all seen businesses, celebs and politicians fail epically at social media. When a campaign burns to the ground, there is always an underlying reason. For example:

  • Humor only works on social media if you’re actually funny
  • Twitter bots are dangerous
  • Customers can be critical and it’s impossible to please everyone

social-media-gone-wrong

Then there is another reason. The good old maxim “any press is good press”. But that’s unlikely in most circumstances. The social media landscape today is way too precarious for businesses to deliberately make blunders for publicity.

What You Can Learn from the Worst Social Media Mistakes in Recent Years

1. Your Facebook or Twitter Account is an Extension of You

– London Luton Airport

In March 2013, London Luton Airport was slammed for using the picture of a fatal crash in Chicago, which killed a 6-year-old boy, in a Facebook post that was meant to be amusing. The caption read:

“Because we are such a super airport….this is what we prevent you from when it snows……Weeeee :)”

London-luton-airport-crash

The tragic crash that killed a 6-year old boy

The insensitive picture was removed within 90 minutes after it was posted following an outrage by Facebook users.

– American Airlines

Called the “largest, shittiest airline in the world”, American Airlines replied to a tweet by an obviously unhappy customer with “Thank you for your support! We look forward to a bright future as the #newAmerican.” The tweet has since been deleted but this just goes to show that while there are some situations where an auto-tweet is acceptable (for example when someone subscribes to your monthly newsletter), there is a danger to auto-responding to everything.

american-airlines-tweet

2. Don’t Tie your Business to an Unrelated Event just Because it’s Trending

– Entenmann

Baked goods purveyor Entenmann learned the hard way that words can be a tricky thing. Following the verdict in the controversial Casey Anthony murder trial, Entenmann sent out a tweet that read:

“Who’s #notguilty about eating all the tasty treats they want?!”

Naturally, there was backlash and the inevitable apology wasn’t long in coming.

Entenmann-tweet

– CelebBoutique

Maybe it was ignorance or maybe it was heartlessness but following the Aurora Shooting in the early hours of July 20, 2012, CelebBoutique made a massive and unforgivable social media misstep tweeting:

“#Aurora is trending, clearly about our Kim K inspired #Aurora dress;)”

The company’s PR clearly did not have the time or inclination to check on why Aurora was trending and the resulting tweet was incredibly insensitive. They later followed up with an apology and an explanation about what happened.

celeb-boutique-tweet

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