5 infamous corporate social media faux pas, and the process lessons you can learn from them!

Craig Sharp

We’re all aware of social media marketing at this stage, we all know that it can be valuable for your business – even if we can’t always tell our Tweets from our Shares, Likes or Pins.

Some companies embrace social media more than others – but the number #1 rule in this digital age is that each company should have a very clear social media process in place, even if just to avoid messy mishaps like…

#5 – The Home Depot fail at banging their own drum

The Home Depot found themselves in hot water in 2013 due to a very silly lapse in judgement. The offending tweet (which can be seen below) is very clearly racist – even if the social media agency they hired to run the campaign didn’t initially realise this.

Home Depot very quickly took the tweet down and promptly fired the agency responsible.

#4 – MSN decides it wants you to ‘like’ Robin Gibb’s death

MSN were crazy for your love in 2012, and in typical social media fail fashion, decided to ask for it by announcing the sad death of Robin Gibb, co-founder of the Bee Gees. We know that Facebook likes can be a tempting get for a social media team, but asking anyone to ‘like’ the passing of another person is in poor taste, whether they be rock god, political hero or anyone else for that matter.

#3 – People lose their cool with London Luton Airport

London Luton Airport drifted several miles off course with this tasteless tweet, featuring a plane crash – just the thing you want your airport staff to be laughing at before a long haul flight! The image used in the tweet below is of a 2005 Chicago flight that slid off of the runway, killing a 6 year old child in the process. As you can imagine most people missed the punchline.

#2 – Celeb Boutique clearly needs a few lessons in etiquette

Yet another Twitter example. This time Celeb Boutique decided it was all about them on the day of the tragic Aurora massacre. Our guess is that not a single Twitter user had even considered their "Kim K inspired dress", what do you think?

#1 – American Apparel show concern for ‘boredom’ during Hurricane Sandy

Once again showing a keen eye for, well tastelessness, American Apparel decided that the main concern for people during the deadliest and most destructive hurricane of the 2012 Atlantic Hurricane season would be boredom – and what better way to deal with that than to spend some cash?

Naturally customers worldwide were appalled, taking to Twitter, Facebook and other websites to condemn this ill-considered marketing message.

There’s a lesson to be learned from all of these of course. It’s incredibly easy to be swept up in your own marketing and sales messages, so much so that you may even be blind to the REAL message you’re sending to your customers. A Tweet or Facebook post takes seconds to upload, but the effects it has can last for many years.

Have a clear social media process in place, including vetting and approval. Don’t use the next international tragedy to try and score a quick win, as the company always, always ends up losing!