3 Social Media Fails and How they Could Have Been Avoided


Another day goes by, another short-sighted social media fail pops up on my timeline.


I usually conduct some in-depth research to find social media insights, but the fails seem to incessantly make their way across my news cycle. They’re so popular in news cycles because they’re propped up on a platform for millions upon millions of people to see. With so many eyes watching, and so many people to be offended, a social media fail is just intriguing for so many reasons.


For one, you question what would make the community manager send out a post like that. Two, you question how a well-known brand could hire someone without that little filter that most people have inside of their heads telling them, “Hey, you should think twice about what you want to say here.” Three, social media has become a great tool to publicly shame someone.


And four, we’re always waiting for that one social media brand to take advantage of a trending topic, no matter how macabre or depressing it may be, for the sake of clicks and likes.


You know, brands like these:


1. Cheesie’s Pub & Grub thinks domestic violence is hilarious




“Domestic violence? How can we turn this into a call-to-action?”


First things first, you don’t. Cheesie’s (What an appropriate name for a brand that posts things like this on Twitter) Pub & Grub thought it was really witty when it unleashed this nightmare of a post, meant to poke fun at Ray Rice physically assaulting his then fiancee in an elevator.


Naturally, they have since apologized. Profusely.


How could you have avoided this: By realizing domestic violence is a sensitive issue. Do I honestly need to go in how this could have been avoided? Then again, maybe I do. Because even a large company like GAP was guilty of this when they asked those who had been devastated by Hurricane Sandy to shop:




2. It’s not damage control, it’s DiGiorno’s. 


I posted about this earlier this week, but it’s worth a revisit because we can all learn from it.


DiGiorno’s Pizza’s Twitter account posted this in attempt to take advantage of the trending hashtag, #whyistayed



Seems harmless, right? Well, had a little research been conducted by the community manager of an account with 82,000 followers, they would have realized #WhyIStayed was being used as a way of domestic violence victims telling their stories.


The usually bombastic and animated account that interacts with followers has since issued these statements, and has seemingly gone on to apologize to every victim of domestic violence:




I’ll give DiGiorno’s credit for one thing: They do seem genuinely interested in their brand’s image. The use of the hashtag really does appear to be an honest mistake, and the account has gone out of its way to profusely apologize since sending out that tweet nearly two days ago.


How could this have been avoided: In this business, there’s nothing more important than doing your research. One click of the hashtag beforehand would have prevented all of this from transpiring. It’s similar to this post from Celeb Boutique, who assumed the trending #aurora hashtag was because of their dress, and not horrific events that transpired in Aurora, Colorado hours prior.




Don’t assume they’re alone, either. Companies such as Entenmanns:


This was in reaction to the Casey Anthony verdict

This was in reaction to the Casey Anthony verdict

and Kenneth Cole:




have been guilty of not doing their research.


3. Corporations showing you their one of us


Especially when you attempt a Q&A between followers and your boss:




Or try to make people rekindle their favorite memories involving your corporation:




Or attempt to start a thoughtful hashtag to tell people that you’re not heartless and only out for their money:




Is there even a need for social media for corporations such as J.P. Morgan? The backlash and comments left by those who have been scorned are usually immense, especially when the corporation attempts to communicate with their audience, and it ends up in posts such as these.


Social media is all about research and awareness. It is easy to avoid all of the mistakes I have mentioned, simply by filtering what you were going to say and thinking if it might offend someone. If you think it will, then don’t post it. There are plenty of ideas out there that don’t need to be on the fringe of hilarious and extremely offensive.


Leave that to the actual comedians.

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