Software // Social
News
12/6/2013
09:06 AM
Kristin Burnham
Kristin Burnham
Slideshows
Connect Directly
Google+
LinkedIn
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

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.
Previous
1 of 10
Next

No year would be complete without a roundup of memorable social media meltdowns, from Facebook faux pas to epic Twitter tirades. We're not talking about ill-considered pictures, or posts that reveal you skipped the family picnic and lied about it. We're talking about big brands -- with much to lose.

Brands had plenty of opportunities to learn from last year's mistakes. In 2012, Chick-Fil-A found itself engulfed in two social media disasters after its CEO famously spoke out against same-sex marriage. Facebook users promptly plastered its page with comments denouncing the restaurant chain, and it later fielded accusations that it created a fake Facebook account to come to the company's defense.

In 2012, KitchenAid caused a stir after an employee mistakenly posted an anti-Obama tweet under the corporate Twitter account during the first presidential debate. It read: "Obamas gma even knew it was going 2 be bad! She died 3 days b4 he became president. #nbcpolitics." To the company's credit, it quickly deleted the tweet and issued an apology.

And then there were the brands that attempted -- in poor taste -- to capitalize on 2012's current events. Online store CelebBoutique posted a promotion on Twitter during the Aurora, Colo., shooting encouraging followers to purchase its Kim Kardashian-inspired dress, which was named "Aurora." And both American Apparel and Gap posted tweets during Hurricane Sandy encouraging followers to shop online if they were bored.

This year, however, brands committed some of the same social media mistakes: rogue employees posting to social networks, tasteless promotions during tragedies, and scandals caused by loose-lipped CEOs. 2013 saw a number of new and noteworthy social media scandals, too.

Take, for example, the disgruntled British Airways customer who made headlines in September after he took matters into his own hands by digging deep into his pockets.

Twitter user Hasan Syed, who was frustrated over British Airways' inaction after losing his father's luggage, spent $1,000 to promote a tweet in New York City and the United Kingdom slamming the airline. The tweet, which was seen by nearly 77,000 people, according to a screenshot Syed posted, read: "Don't fly @BritishAirways. Their customer service is horrendous."

When British Airways finally replied to Syed's tweets, it apologized for the delay and informed him that the company's "Twitter feed is open 0900-1700 GMT." Syed's reply: "How does a billion dollar corp only have 9-5 social media support for a business that operates 24/7?" A valid question, no doubt. Syed and British Airways reportedly connected later to resolve the missing luggage issue.

Read more: 3 Lessons From British Airways Twitter Flap.

What other social-fueled meltdowns went viral? Read on -- and vow not to repeat the same kinds of mistakes.

Previous
1 of 10
Next
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
<<   <   Page 3 / 3
Shane M. O'Neill
50%
50%
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
50%
50%
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
50%
50%
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
50%
50%
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
50%
50%
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
50%
50%
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
50%
50%
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
50%
50%
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
50%
50%
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
50%
50%
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?
<<   <   Page 3 / 3
Social is a Business Imperative
Social is a Business Imperative
The use of social media for a host of business purposes is rising. Indeed, social is quickly moving from cutting edge to business basic. Organizations that have so far ignored social - either because they thought it was a passing fad or just didn’t have the resources to properly evaluate potential use cases and products - must start giving it serious consideration.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
InformationWeek Must Reads Oct. 21, 2014
InformationWeek's new Must Reads is a compendium of our best recent coverage of digital strategy. Learn why you should learn to embrace DevOps, how to avoid roadblocks for digital projects, what the five steps to API management are, and more.
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Archived InformationWeek Radio
A roundup of the top stories and community news at InformationWeek.com.
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.