Businesses nowadays are becoming increasingly more consumer savvy and one of the ways to engage with a target market is via social media. However, everyone knows that from time to time people make mistakes, but unfortunately on social media platforms there is no getting away from it. Listed below are some of the biggest social media howlers out there.
American Apparel, Sears, Urban Outfitters and Gap are just a few to mention in accordance with this blunder, which ranks as one of the biggest social media gaffes of all time. Hurricane Sandy was the deadliest storm of the 2012 Atlantic Hurricane season, which resulted in 285 fatalities. The companies named above, questionably decided to utilise this natural disaster to their advantage. The brands offered free shipping to those effected and said they should take advantage if they were ‘bored’ while the hurricane was in full swing.
Everything was going swimmingly as global fashion Kenneth Cole launched its new spring collection. That was, however until the brand headed to Twitter to promote its new clothing range. The company sparked enormous controversy when it tweeted “Millions are in uproar in #Cairo. Rumor is they heard our new spring collection is now available online”.
NRA American Rifleman
Timing is everything when it comes to social media and I think it’s fair to say that the American Rifleman well and truly miscalculated the timing of this tweet. The American Rifleman is a journal affiliated with the national rifle association. They tweeted a pro gun statement in the midst of a mass shooting.
The clothing company Celeb Boutique jumped on the social media trending bandwagon as they tried to promote a Kim Kardashian endorsed dress. They alluded to the fact that the trending topic of the mass shootings outside a cinema in America was actually due to an item of clothing. Celeb Boutique later apologised for the tweet and claimed they didn’t know about the disaster at the time.
During the 2012 presidential elections KitchenAid got involved in the political sphere by tweeting Barack Obama directly. Unfortunately the tweet was about his deceased Grandmother. The tweet was by one of the social media team and they later apologised for the incident.
As time progresses, different organisations are becoming increasingly respondent to negative criticism on social media. This is usually resolved by an apology or in some cases a good will gesture. However, that wasn’t the plan of action for Pigalle Boston. When the company received some poor customer feedback via Facebook, the restaurant decided to hurl abuse rather than apologise to the customer. If the use of profanities wasn’t unprofessional then the manner in which they handled the situation definitely was.
Another great example of a social media mishap is when T.G.I Friday announced a fake Facebook page. They ensured that when the page had 500,000 followers, free hamburgers would be provided to all its customers. What started as a good promotional activity was soon derailed, as the company deleted the Facebook page and faltered on their promise.
Ketchum is among the largest and most geographically diverse agencies in the country, however this didn’t stop a senior member of staff at the agency dropping a real clanger and upsetting a major client thanks to social media. Senior employee James Andrews tweeted a negative statement about the home town of one of its biggest clients, FedEx in Memphis. Again, like many of the other blunders listed above Mr Andrews was made to apologise and later left the agency.
American Red Cross
In 2011, an American Red Cross employee mistakenly sent a tweet stating how they were ‘getting on the beers’ – hardly something you’d expect to see from a charitable organisation. Whilst there was initial fallout with followers making complaints about the tweet, the situation was rectified by both the company and employee, who diffused the situation with a series of explanatory and light hearted tweets.
Tesco is the UK’s leading private sector organisation so it was no surprise that when the horse meat scandal came to light, there was public uproar. People took to the keyboards to vent their frustration at the huge supermarket chain. The social media team then sparked even further outrage when they tweeted at the end of the night, stating they were going to ‘hit the hay’. Tesco later apologised and claimed they didn’t know about the situation before they tweeted.
Have we missed any of your favourites off? Let us know what your top social media howlers are in the comments section below.