Twitter is home to an incredible number of brands and consumers, hosting around 500 million tweets on a daily basis. Brands are all aggressively vying for attention so it’s only natural to see some of them stumble along the way.
Committing a Twitter blunder is a fast way to gain a bad kind of attention from the denizens of the internet. Tweeting the wrong thing in this day and age can be extremely damaging to your reputation both online and offline, potentially hurting sales if people decide to avoid your brand.
Learn from some of the worst tweets we’ve seen on the internet so you can avoid getting the wrong kind of attention from the people of the internet. It may seem obvious not to do the following things, but these tweeters were once just like you…
The road to cringe-ville starts here!
Right Tweet at the Wrong Time for Qantas Airways
When Qantas Airways launched the #QantasLuxury campaign, they aimed to encourage their customers to share about their five-star experiences while aboard one of their aircraft.
Image credit: The Conversation
While their marketing team had good and clear intentions with this campaign, their timing was way off. The #QantasLuxury campaign was launched during a time when their aircraft were grounded due to a labor issue.
What was supposed to be an ingenious marketing tactic geared to show the lux side of their services became a window of opportunity for angry customers who found a platform for their frustration.
Neglecting to align your marketing strategies with current events and operations will result in chaos and may very well cost you the reputation you are working so hard on building.
Accidental Racism from The New England Patriots
Back in 2014, the New England Patriots launched their #1MILLIONPATRIOTS campaign in an attempt to become the first NFL team to reach 1 million followers on Twitter.
After reaching 1 million followers, the New England Patriots thanked their fans and supporters for helping them reach an ambitious milestone. They had an automatic system set up to mention the name of the millionth follower. In the process, they mistakenly mentioned an extremely racist and offensive account and even had his handle plastered on a new England Patriots jersey.
Image credit: Mashable
The tweet has since been deleted and the NFL team issued a public apology for the oversight saying that they failed to double check their filtering system.
Gaining massive amounts of followers through a hashtag campaign can be overwhelming and you are bound to make mistakes along the way. Instead of solely relying on organic growth tactics, try investing in some high-quality Twitter followers from a reputable provider to help you strengthen your social proof.
Strengthening your social proof is one of the most effective and efficient ways to attract more organic followers, without the hassle and chaos a hashtag campaign brings. You’ll need to implement ordinary marketing efforts too, but this is a great way to get the ball rolling.
Real Time Marketing Fail from DiGiorno Pizza
The #WhyIStayed campaign aimed to shine a light on domestic violence while spreading awareness about the struggles that victims face, which can force them to stay in an abusive relationship.
Image credit: @scottfpaul
DiGiorno Pizza saw the trending topic and jumped on the bandwagon without doing sufficient research beforehand. This led to the release of a highly irrelevant and highly insensitive tweet which stirred the crowd the wrong way.
Image credit: AdWeek
Trending topics are a great way to gain marketing mileage on a topic that’s already being talked about but you have to be selective and only partake in conversations that are most relevant to your company. And ones that you understand.
An F-Bomb from Chrysler
Chrysler is a globally-known automotive brand who uses an agency to handle all their social media affairs. This was working perfectly for them until one person forgot to log out of the official Chrysler Twitter account.
Image credit: AdWeek
After issuing an apology, Chrysler disclosed that they have severed their professional ties with the agency responsible for the irresponsible tweet.
When outsourcing your Twitter marketing campaign, make sure everyone on board is familiar with the brand image you are portraying. Set clear guidelines in using your official account and remind your team to be careful when switching accounts to avoid any discrepancies when it comes to the posts being published.
A Major Oversight from American Apparel
American Apparel is a known fashion brand who learned the hard way that sometimes even the most stunning image on the internet might be backed by a disturbing story to tell.
The people in charge of creating custom images for American Apparel unknowingly used an image of Space Shuttle Challenger exploding mid-air. Not good.
Image credit: The PR Room
The post was originally published on their Tumblr account but was later also shared to the company’s official Twitter page.
American Apparel responded to complaints and said that their marketing department is composed of young professionals who had no knowledge of the incident that transpired in 1986. Enraged, Twitter users publicly shamed the company for such grave oversight.
As a brand, you have an obligation to your followers to provide them with high-quality and well-researched content. Don’t resort to cutting corners or people will eventually take notice.
AI Conundrum from Tay and Microsoft
Microsoft, being a tech brand, has always been at the forefront of digital innovation. Just last year, they launched an experiment in machine learning and artificial intelligence which they called Tay. Tay was a Twitter chatbot, and she relied on the interaction she received in order to better her conversational understanding.
While the experiment was definitely groundbreaking, it took trolls only an hour to turn the playful chatbot into a hate-spitting Nazi.
Image credit: @geraldmellor
Too much automation can be a bad thing. While artificial intelligence and automation have greatly advanced throughout the years, there’s no beating human discernment. Tay fell when people realized how she worked and fed her full of hate speech on purpose – don’t let your methods be so obvious if you’re in a similar situation.
Pornographic Response from US Airways
According to a study conducted by Sprout Social, 90% of their respondents have used social media to reach out to a company for assistance. One US Airways customer who goes by the name of Elle on Twitter reached out to the airline to address her frustration about her delayed flight.
@USAirways Unhappy that 1787 sat for an hour on tarmac in CLT because overweight, resulting in over hour late arrival in PDX…
— Elle (@ElleRafter) April 14, 2014
Elle managed to get a response from the airline, (which is now a part of American Airlines), but she was very surprised to find that the tweet they replied with came with a very NSFW photo attached.
The person manning the US Airway Twitter account accidentally sent out a pornographic image along with their response. This did nothing to pacify the already-angry customer, as you might imagine, and other Twitter users quickly took notice.
Before allowing anybody to handle your account on your behalf, make sure they completely understand how the platform works and the ramifications of tweeting the wrong thing. In some cases, however, a malicious or careless employee can’t be stopped.
Endorsement Fail by Oprah
Oprah Winfrey is one of the biggest celebrities out there and it’s only natural for brands and companies to chase after her for endorsement deals. A single tweet from Oprah can send any product flying off the shelf in a matter of minutes.
Oprah was approached by Microsoft to endorse their newly released tablet, called Surface. Well, she accepted the endorsement and told the world how much she loved her new Microsoft tablet… using her iPad.
Image credit: Linkdex
A bad judgment call and lack of attention to detail can be a bad thing for a brand or personality. Think about what you’re posting and try to determine what impact it has on the image you portray online. We’re sure that Oprah is still doing just fine after this tweet, but you probably aren’t quite as popular as her.
Racist Tweet from Home Depot
Home Depot published a tweet accompanied by an image of a man in a gorilla costume seated in between two African-American men donned in company uniforms.
Image credit: Daily Mail UK
While the company didn’t say anything racist outright, the implications were clear. After deleting the tweet, Home Depot half-heartedly apologized and deflected the blame on the agency handling their account.
When it comes to tweeting, make sure to stay objective and avoid treading controversial topics – unless that’s what you want to do, and in that case do it intelligently. You owe it to your followers to provide them with unbiased, quality content. The rule of “think before you tweet” applies to even the biggest brands on the internet.
Distasteful Comment from Kenneth Cole
Twitter has been a viable platform for everyone to express themselves regarding the most pressing social issues.
Naturally, these issues become trending topics on Twitter and it seems like brands can’t keep their hands off of them.
Image credit: Huffington Post
Kenneth Cole is global fashion brand who was found guilty of making light of the political uprising that was unfolding in Egypt to promote their spring collection. Many fans and internet users found the tweet distasteful and made their disappointment known by barraging the company with irate tweets.
Never take advantage of a highly sensitive issue for your marketing gain, people will take notice and your reputation will surely take a hit.
Your Mistakes Can Go Viral, Just Like Your Successes
Cutting corners can only get you so far. Put as much thought as you can into every tweet you publish to avoid any discrepancies that could potentially cost you your reputation.
Instead of engaging only in aggressive marketing techniques to gain more followers, invest some of your marketing resources into purchasing high-quality followers from a trusted provider.
Buying high-quality followers can tremendously increase your social proof, which encourages organic growth from real users – without you having to overly exhaust yourself or your resources. When people see how popular you are, they’ll naturally want to come check you out – a hands-off approach to building your audience.
Don’t even attempt to launch a Twitter marketing campaign without a strategy in place because one wrong move can turn you into a viral sensation – and not the good kind.