Social media is a very powerful tool. From allowing you to connect with your fans, to driving thousands of visitors & sales to your website, social media is easily one of the most universal strategies for building a brand. With great power, however, comes great responsibility. (Insert Uncle Ben from Spiderman 1) While social media is often used for the benefit of a company, in the hands of an upset intern, a bad marketing team, or a PR employee, things can often turn sour. Seeing as one of Flight Media's prime services is social media marketing, I figured I'd share the largest social media fails we've seen in 2014! Enjoy--and please share if it tickled your fancy.
Back in April, the NYPD thought it would be a great idea to get people involved in their trending hashtag #myNYPD by tweeting:
Do you have a photo w/ a member of the NYPD? Tweet us & tag it #myNYPD. It may be featured on our Facebook. pic.twitter.com/mE2c3oSmm6 — NYPD NEWS (@NYPDnews) April 22, 2014
Hoping for friendly photos with members of NYPD, their marketing team failed to think through the other side of the spectrum--negative photos with NYPD. Within minutes, people began tweeting all kinds of picture of NYPD abusing their power & being cruel to civilians. Something good, gone bad. Here are a few responses (of hundreds,) to give you an idea of what happened:
Sure thing! MT @NYPDnews: Do you have a photo w/ a member of the NYPD? Tweet us & tag it #myNYPD pic.twitter.com/mdWqoHiij5 — DefendedInTheStreets (@KimaniFilm) April 22, 2014
RT @BertyBoySwag: #MyNYPD pic.twitter.com/pwipa0xpCt || And it all happened to the cheers of those who now cry Tyranny! at Bundy Ranch. — David Waldman (@KagroX) April 22, 2014
Cancer Research UK, in their attempt to raise money for cancer research, ran a campaign with the hashtag #nomakeupselfie by asking people to text 'BEAT' to 70007. Unfortunately, iPhone autocorrects 'beat' to 'bear'--leading people to accidentally adopting a polar bear.
Celebrating the U.S.'s 2-1 win against Ghana in the World Cup, Delta posted a picture with the Statue of Liberty (representing the US) and a giraffe (representing Ghana), not realizing that giraffes don't live in Ghana. They immediately deleted the tweet & apologized: Unfortunately, in their apology, they accidentally said "precious" instead of "previous"--putting them deeper in the hole.
Go home Delta. Even your apology is drunk. #Precious pic.twitter.com/K5x8kgv0Zf — Kelly Mosier (@kmosier42) June 17, 2014
After NFL's Ray Rice was caught beating his wife on tape, countless women took on the hashtag #WhyIStayed to confess their stories of why they stayed in abusive relationships. To their demise, DiGiorno Pizza attempted to get in on the trending topic:
Example of a brand using a trending topic without understanding the context #Advertising #SocialMedia #WhyIStayed pic.twitter.com/iTSmfaT6Xv — Scott Paul (@scottatslee) September 9, 2014
Within minutes, the tweet was deleted and DiGiorno Pizza apologized individually to every person who responded to their tweet. That's great crisis management, if you ask me!
Let's face it, everybody loves a good laugh. Good jokes or bad jokes, they usually end in at least a bit of a chuckle. Social Media Marketing World thought the same thing when they wrote the song, "Let's Get Social." Sadly, this little ditty fell more on the this-is-so-bad-that-Im-cringing-out-of-embarassment-for-you side of things. (Especially when the 'rap' kicks in) The worst part--they put cats before bacon. What a shame... Hit 'play' and by the 2-minute mark, you'll understand.
Social media is an amazing tool. Drive traffic, generate leads, make sales, and build a solid brand. But whatever you do, use common sense, engage how you would want to be engaged, and don't hijack serious hashtags for the sake of selling a few pizzas. Which one of the 5 fails made you smile? Leave a comment. 8-)