Social media can be a valuable tool to any marketing campaign, but only if used correctly. A great social media strategy takes time, some planning, and some creativity. A lazy social media strategy is transparent, and can fall short of expectations. Some simply couldn’t handle their social media in 2015.
Check out these social media failures that brought these companies down in 2015:
#WhyIStayed taken out of proportion by DiGiornio
After videos came out showing the former NFL star Ray Rice beating up his girlfriend, online discussions opened up about why the girlfriend decided to stay with him, and why others in the same situation with domestic abuse chose to stay with their partners. The hashtag #WhyIStayed began to trend on Twitter, with heart wrenching testimonies from victims of domestic abuse. What started off as a way to let out these thoughts, became a ploy to make a profit and a joke by DiGiornio. The frozen pizza brand tweeted the hashtag in a comical sense, poking fun at the line by saying, “”WhyIStayed You had pizza.” This single tweet offended many people and brought the company under fire for their insensitive tactic. To avoid following in the footsteps of DiGiornio, take caution with social media posts, to be sure not to offend the public when it comes to sensitive matters like such. Your unpopular opinion could end up costing you business.
Ask SeaWorld turned foul
In light of the somewhat recent attention that SeaWorld has received due to dramatic events with their animals, and the questioning of the sea creatures’ captivity, the timing of SeaWorld’s most recent social media campaign could not have been worse. Early in 2015, SeaWorld took to Twitter to open up communication between the brand and the public. SeaWorld decided to start the Twitter trend #AskSeaWorld, which was a hopeful attempt to draw positive attention and increase awareness of the brand. But instead, many opposing the company decided to call out SeaWorld for their negative features by asking questions that highlighted the company’s flaws. The hashtag SeaWorld started began to trend, but for the opposite reason of what the brand hoped to achieve. This Twitter fail simply drew negative attention to SeaWorld, and dug them into a deeper hole than they were already in. This goes without saying, but a good public relations campaign would work a bit harder to fix their image, before letting outside forces come in to tear it down even more!
IHOP’s ignorant insult to women
In October of 2015, IHOP’s Twitter account tried to pull off a sly joke by comparing a stack of pancakes to a flat chested woman, with the comment, “flat, but has a GREAT personality.” Thought the tweet was quickly deleted, it received plenty of attention by angry followers who were disappointed by the degrading message. IHOP then sent out several apology tweets, trying to fix the situation, but while it could be forgiven, it was certainly not forgotten. After the tweet, the backlash of many female followers insisted that IHOP was no longer a breakfast spot they cared for. For future social media jokes, stay away from “locker room” talk and degrading jokes. They only offend your clients, and give your brand a bad reputation. Stick to clean and clear jokes that will keep you on the safe side.
From these major corporate social media fails of 2015, we can take away some major lessons. First of all, make sure to keep a friendly tone. Poking fun at sensitive topics and offending potential customers won’t get you very far in social media. Also, simply keeping the idea of thing king before you speak, or tweet, is a smart way to save yourself from slipping into some hot water on social media.