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12/6/2013
09:06 AM
Kristin Burnham
Kristin Burnham
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10 Worst Social Media Meltdowns Of 2013

Social media can be a marketer's best friend or worst enemy. Consider the year's social media-fueled nightmares.
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Applebee's
Restaurant chain Applebee's fired a waitress in St. Louis after she posted a photo of a customer's receipt that went viral on Reddit. Posting the receipt, on which the patron -- a local pastor -- wrote 'I give God 10% why do you get 18?' violated corporate policy, the company said. 
In an attempt to respond to the news coverage and share its side of the story, Applebee's posted a message on its Facebook page, part of which said: 'Our Guests' personal information -- including their meal check -- is private, and neither Applebee's nor its franchises have a right to share this information publicly.' 
The problem, which thousands of Facebook followers noted: Just two weeks prior, the restaurant posted a picture of a note from a guest that featured the guest's name. Applebee's promptly deleted that photo, adding fuel to the angry customer's fire.

Applebee's
Restaurant chain Applebee's fired a waitress in St. Louis after she posted a photo of a customer's receipt that went viral on Reddit. Posting the receipt, on which the patron -- a local pastor -- wrote "I give God 10% why do you get 18?" violated corporate policy, the company said.

In an attempt to respond to the news coverage and share its side of the story, Applebee's posted a message on its Facebook page, part of which said: "Our Guests' personal information -- including their meal check -- is private, and neither Applebee's nor its franchises have a right to share this information publicly."

The problem, which thousands of Facebook followers noted: Just two weeks prior, the restaurant posted a picture of a note from a guest that featured the guest's name. Applebee's promptly deleted that photo, adding fuel to the angry customer's fire.

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Shane M. O'Neill
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Shane M. O'Neill,
User Rank: Author
12/7/2013 | 5:48:39 PM
Re: Vent elsewhere
Susan, you could: Text a friend. Call a friend. Go run 3 miles. Hit a punching bag. Scream.

I think if your post is about a universally troubling thing, and you want reassurance, a social media vent can be a good idea. But what may feel like a healthy vent could get you in hot water. It's easy to forget your post goes out to hundreds if not thousands of people. 
Susan Fourtané
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Susan Fourtané,
User Rank: Ninja
12/7/2013 | 10:42:12 AM
Re: Vent elsewhere
Shane,

"Social media is such a very bad place to vent. Breathe and count to 10 before you broadcast your emotional reactions."

That's a good piece of advice. The problem with venting in social media is that there is always someone listening. In this era of social media we all are immersed in rarely people have the chance to meet with friends, colleages, or someone in real life, go for coffee, and vent. 

Everybody is in a hurry now. No one has time. It's easier and faster to quickly vent on social media, where most people rarely measure the consequences of their emotional reactions. 

I am not saying this is good, or anything or the kind. I am simply pointing out at one of the reasons why we are now reading this compilation of social media meltdowns. 

So, vent elsewhere. Where?

-Susan
Thomas Claburn
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Thomas Claburn,
User Rank: Author
12/6/2013 | 7:08:44 PM
Re: Love the BofA example
It's not just the limits of automation. It's also that too many companies see social media as a one-way medium. 
Shane M. O'Neill
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Shane M. O'Neill,
User Rank: Author
12/6/2013 | 3:44:24 PM
Vent elsewhere
Social media is such a very bad place to vent. Breathe and count to 10 before you broadcast your emotional reactions.
WKash
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WKash,
User Rank: Author
12/6/2013 | 1:07:27 PM
Apple & Social Media Analytics
The stakes are clearly getting bigger for big brands.  Consider Apple's  acquistion of social-media analytics firm Topsy Labs last week for more than $200 million. Apple of course isn't making the reasoning clear.  But having a strong corporate grasp of -- and the tools to support -- social media threads isn't an area big brands can afford to relegate simply the marketing department.
Kristin Burnham
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Kristin Burnham,
User Rank: Author
12/6/2013 | 12:02:29 PM
Re: Timing Is Everything
^This is a good reminder of how necessary it is to know your audience.
Whoopty
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Whoopty,
User Rank: Ninja
12/6/2013 | 11:23:39 AM
Social Media coordinators
While social networking is undoubtedly a big deal for consumer focused businesses, I think we'll keep seeing these sorts of meltdowns from social media coordinators being fired from businesses they just aren't needed in. 
Laurianne
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Laurianne,
User Rank: Author
12/6/2013 | 10:30:09 AM
Timing Is Everything
The tweet pushing scones after the Boston bombing shows why social marketing efforts need checks and balances. 

Also, people of different ages will have different reactions to things. Different sense of humor. Different gut reactions on tough calls. I see a lot of companies who decide social is a young person's game. But what ages are your customers?
David F. Carr
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David F. Carr,
User Rank: Author
12/6/2013 | 10:10:10 AM
Love the BofA example
A good reminder of the limits of automation
Kristin Burnham
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Kristin Burnham,
User Rank: Author
12/6/2013 | 9:31:10 AM
More training?
Many of these occurred because of a lack of judgement. What are the policies in your organization? Do you receive social media training?
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