Hazel Mollison

Hazel Mollison

Communications Executive, Lingo24

The biggest social media blunders of 2012

Whatever 2013 brings, there’s little doubt social networking will continue to grow on a global scale.


More of the world is tweeting, chatting, and sharing – and FacebOops!ook and Twitter are more multilingual than ever before.

While it’s never been easier to reach a massive number of people around the world, it’s also easy to end up with a (very public) red face! As the new year starts, we take a look at some big names who really should have thought before clicking that “tweet” button.

And if you’ve been slow to get started with social media, you can take heart from the fact you avoided some pretty big fails…

1.    Not lovin’ it – Getting their hashtag trending was the aim – but this wasn’t quite what McDonalds had intended. When they started using #McDStories, they expected fans to share good news and anecdotes about their favourite fast food restaurant. Instead, users highjacked the hashtag to vent their anger and frustration about bad service or poor quality food.McDonald's logo
2.    A PR storm – Making light of an emergency isn’t the best way to win fans, as American Apparel, Gap and Urban Outfitters discovered. Perhaps they hadn’t realised the seriousness of Hurricane Sandy, which hit the US East Coast in October. All three apologised for tweets using the storm as a marketing opportunity.
3.    A scheduled blunder – Not reading the news can land social media marketers in hot water. A tweet from the National Rifle Association (“Good morning, shooters. Weekend plans? Happy Friday!”) was slammed as insensitive following the tragic shooting in Aurora, Colorado. Celeb Boutique also apologised after failing to check the reason “Aurora” was trending, and tying it into their fashion collections.
4.    When sharing isn’t caring – Knowing what NOT to share is an underrated skill. The CFO of women’s clothing retailer Francesca should have thought twice before posting a cheerful tweet about “Good numbers=happy board”. Pre-empting the official announcement ended up costing him his job.
5.    Hashtag headaches – Waitrose was another brand who found out how easy it can be to lose control of hashtags. Their invitation to fans to post why they loved the store under #WaitroseReasons was hijacked by people making fun of its “posh” reputation. We think they wanted rave reviews of their organic produce, not comments about avoiding poor people!

Here’s to a happy, social – and blunder-free – 2013!

Pictures: mcfarlandmo and avlxyz

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