Social media is instant, which means that mistakes are bound to happen. However, corporate social media blunders can have big consequences for a business. In this post, we take a look back at three of the biggest social media mistakes of 2012 and how businesses worked to repair the damage done.
- Social Media Mistake: Using Hurricane Sandy to Sell Clothes
Offender: Gap, Inc. and other online retailers
When Hurricane Sandy hit New York City and areas of New Jersey and Connecticut in October 2012, many companies reached out on social media to offer condolences to those affected. However, others—including Gap, Inc. and American Apparel—tried to capitalize on the event as an opportunity to sell merchandise online.
Response: Customers were quick to respond, criticizing Gap for its insensitivity and suggesting the company should have focused on sending out warnings and messages of hope to victims instead of using the popular “Sandy” hashtag to try to turn a profit during the tragedy. The online community suggested that Gap and American Apparel donate clothes to the flood victims as an apology.
Damage Control: Gap later recanted their post and offered an apology of sorts, but the damage had been done, and many Gap customers vowed to not do business with retailer in the future. American Apparel has offered no such apology.
- Social Media Mistake: Posting Political Opinions from Corporate Accounts
Offender: KitchenAid Appliances
What appeared to be a personal tweet about President Barack Obama’s deceased grandmother from a KitchenAid employee was sent from the corporate account.
Response: Public backlash was swift and harsh. As thousands were actively following the “nbcpolitics” hashtag at the time the tweet was posted, critics were quick to call out the appliance manufacturer and demand an apology on behalf of the president.
Damage Control: KitchenAid was quick to publish multiple, sincere apologies and ensured the public that the insensitive tweeter would no longer be responsible for managing Kitchen Aid’s Twitter feed.
- Social Media Mistake: Misusing a Twitter Hashtag Relating to a Tragedy
Offender: Celeb Boutique clothing retailer
Another controversial tweet of 2012 came in July from fashion retailer Celeb Boutique following the deadly movie theater shooting in Aurora, CO. By not researching hashtags trending on Twitter, the post—which included “#Aurora”— outraged many who were mourning the tragedy.
Response: The offensive remark was retweeted hundreds of times before it was deleted. Many were understandably outraged and took to Twitter to publically reprimand the brand.
Damage Control: Celeb Boutique immediately issued an apology and deleted the tweet. They informed the public that their PR department was not based in the United States and was not aware of the tragedy that had occurred in Colorado. Although their apology was well received by the public, the gaffe prompted a lot of criticism about how many corporations have not yet mastered the refined skill of social media management.
These social media mistakes could have been avoided, had each corporation mandated strict social media guidelines. Make sure your brand doesn’t fall victim to the same missteps by implementing some social media best practices for your corporation.
SOUND OFF: How does your company manage its social media presences? What rules or guidelines must employees follow when tweeting or posting from a corporate account? Let us know by leaving a comment below.