Anyone working in the world of social media knows the pressures of creating engaging content that is squeaky clean and represents brands in a favourable light. Get so much as one character wrong and you open a world of trouble.
And it’s not just pernickety keyboard warriors calling you out that you have to worry about, a social media page is a direct representation of your work that your client can check at their leisure 24/7 and taking on the voice of a brand is a big responsibility.
But enough of me telling you what could go wrong. Let’s look at these monumental social media screw-ups and thank the lord that we weren’t responsible for their creation!
1/. Luton Airport’s image fail
Using a picture to encourage interaction is an industry standard. Stats suggest images have a whopping 78% chance of engagement. However, it’s worth actually checking your image source to prevent a horrendous foot in mouth moment such as when Luton Airport shared this howler.
A quick Google search would have informed them that this was in fact a fatal crash that claimed the life of a young child and would have prevented a lot of frankly justified backlash for the brand to manage. (Credit: Contender Content)
2/. Sephora’s regrettable typo
In social media, every character has to be perfect. If ever you needed proof, then this example is it! Cosmetics brand Sephora attempted to put out a tweet with the hash tag #Countdowntobeauty. Sadly they omitted the “O” in count. We’ll let you figure out the rest…
Never underestimate how changing a single letter in a word can completely change its context and leave you in very hot water. It’s not just letters either, commas can save lives! I.e “Let’s eat mum! / Let’s eat, mum! (Source: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/240696)
3/. Transport for London’s lesson in how not to handle customer complaints
When you handle social media for a transport company serving around 3 million commuters a day, a large part of your job will inevitably be responding to complaints. The trick is to offer a constructive solution that helps alleviate the issue, not make a flippant comment that will undoubtedly piss off the user beyond belief.
TFL Overground tried to undo the damage by immediately apologising, explaining that the comment would be looked into but it’s too little, too late.
4/. McDonalds learns that hash tags can be open to interpretation:
Every brand dreams of creating a hashtag that trends, spreading their message around the globe to thousands of users. However, when you’re a brand the size of McDonalds, you need to take into account that not everyone is your biggest fan. Using an open ended hashtag such as #McDstories and asking people to share theirs is seriously inadvisable if you want to avoid negative reactions like these:
5/. American Red Cross shows how correcting a mistake can work:
As fun as it is looking back at cringe worthy mistakes, it’s always nice to see one that has been handled well and has a happy ending. American Red Cross accidently put out this clear clanger of a tweet:
Rather than panic and make excuses for their mistake, Red Cross tweeted the following: “We’ve deleted the rogue tweet but rest assured the Red Cross is sober and we’ve confiscated the keys.”
This humorous response was well received by the twitter community, resulting in the #gettingslizzered (drunk) hashtag trending and even saw bars in 30 states around America taking part in ‘beer for blood donors’ offers, turning a rogue tweet into a successful awareness campaign. That folks, is how it’s done!