Social media is invaluable when it comes to developing your digital strategy – there’s no better way to find and connect with your target audience on a daily basis. But it’s also a medium geared towards instant gratification. If you’re not careful, you could end up with instant embarrassment, instead.
From poorly selected hashtags to cringe-worthy typos, several well known brands have fallen victim to social media fails. While these brands have had plenty of online success, even the best social media managers have their off-days. These accounts are under the spotlight – when they make mistakes, word spreads quickly. However, within their slip-ups hide important lessons that all social media users can learn from.
In the spirit of education, we’ve compiled some of the most memorable social media fails of recent years. Please consider these the next time you’re typing out a tweet!
4 enlightening social media fails:
- Yahoo’s offensive typo. First thing’s first: spellcheck, always. Taking a few extra seconds to read over your work is never a bad idea – and it could help you avoid a truly horrifying typo. Yahoo learned this the hard way when they unwittingly sent out a racial slur for the entire world to see. You may think that a simple tweet doesn’t require proofreading, but are you willing to bet your brand’s reputation on 140 unchecked characters?
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) December 18, 2016
- The Washington Capitals’ social media night. When hosting a “Social Media Night” – or any time you’re on social media, for that matter – insulting a follower’s physical appearances is something to be avoided. Specifically, as the Washington Capitals’ social media team learned, don’t reply “Great faceswap” to a picture that is most definitely not a face-swap. No hasty explanation can truly undo the damage poor judgement creates; think of how your followers will perceive your words before you send them out.
— Scott Paul (@scottfpaul) September 9, 2014
- DiGiorno’s horrible hashtag. Hashtags can be incredibly useful for finding target audience members, tracking stories and weighing in on conversations. However, just because a hashtag is trending does not mean you should use it. When DiGiorno capitalized on the #WhyIStayed hashtag with a pizza joke, people were outraged. Why? This hashtag was created to raise awareness around domestic abuse. A quick hashtag search beforehand could have prevented this entire debacle.
- American Apparel’s inappropriate image. When American Apparel shared a picture celebrating the Fourth of July on Tumblr, a seemingly well-meaning post soon turned into an offensive nightmare. As it turns out, the picture they used was from the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster. While American Apparel claims this was an unfortunate mistake, their blunder makes a case for the importance of prior research and a thorough screening process. Before posting anything online, always check your sources – otherwise, you won’t know the implications of the content you post until it’s too late.
As you can see, taking a few extra moments to think through each and every social media post can really pay off, reputation-wise. If you do your research and take your time, social media will bring about success instead of a red face.