Twitter is a fantastic way to promote your business. Tweets from brand names raise awareness and can also generate customer loyalty if done correctly. However, every now and then a perfectly timed tweet goes south really fast. Clueless Tweeting can really damage your business, you really need to know what you’re doing when you talking to the world, or you could end up in a round up post like this one.
Here are our top 11 picks of the most ridiculous Twitter fails of all time.
McDonald’s started a campaign that was designed to introduce customers to its meat suppliers. It blew up in their face almost immediately. The tweet was dubbed #McdStories. Instead of creating some goodwill, customers began tweeting their most horrific McDonald’s stories under the campaign.
Lesson: think about what could go wrong!
2. Kenneth Cole
In an effort to raise awareness of their upcoming spring line, Kenneth Cole tweeted out a rather insensitive joke concerning the Egyptian revolution at the time. They used #Cairo because it was trending and made the joke that Cairo was in an uproar because of their new online collection. People went to Twitter and started excoriating the company as a result.
Lesson: don’t joke about politics!
What better way to clean up the soiled image of motor city than by sending out an F-bomb tweet by its most prestigious car manufacturer? That’s exactly what Chrysler did. They promptly canceled their contract with New Media Strategies, the company who handled their Twitter marketing campaigns, and issued an apology.
Lesson: do your own social media, and don’t swear!
4. Urban Outfitters
What do you do when customers accuse you of stealing artist’s designs and marketing them for your own profit without proper credit? Issue a halfhearted, “We are looking into it response” and lose 17,000 followers. That’s what happened when @AmberKarnes brought awareness to the issue!
Lesson: don’t plagiarise!
The tweet #notguilty, was the result of simple, bad timing. Meant to be a crafty way of encouraging customers to eat sugary treats, it ended up coming across as insensitive. The issue? This was the day that the verdict was rendered on the Casey Anthony trial. Entenmann’s quickly apologized and deleted the tweet.
Lesson: don’t get involved in trials!
6. Red Cross
It’s good to see non-profits getting in on the action as well. The American Red Cross fell victim to an accident. One of its employees sent out a personal message on their official account that was a tad unprofessional concerning their drinking habits. The really cool part about this is that Dogfish Head, the brand of beer that was referenced via the tweet, used the hashtag to encourage Red Cross donations. Nice recovery!
Lesson: don’t go off brand!
7. J.P. Morgan
Just because you are a big fish does not mean that everybody fishes in your pond. J.P. Morgan got a quick slap in the face regarding this matter when they did a Q & A session with customers. After a lacklustre response and very sarcastic questions, they promptly cancelled the event.
Lesson: don’t get in deeper than you can deal with!
This is one of those things that you think a company should know better about doing, but leave it to MasterCard to create a “priceless” tweet. In an effort to promote its sponsorship of the famed Brit Awards, they decided they would ask certain journalist to tweet the campaign. In return, they would receive accreditation for their coverage. As you can imagine, any time you tell a journalist what they need to do that is a recipe for disaster.
Lesson: know who you’re dealing with!
When you reveal to your customers that you have sold hamburgers that contains horse meat, you should probably stay away from tweets that say, “It’s sleepy time so we’re off to hit the hay!” #Notafan.
Lesson: don’t mock your customers!
10. Qantas Airlines
In an effort to raise awareness about their new luxury class offerings, Qantas decided to tweet about it. However, the day before, an entire fleet was grounded due to a labor dispute. As a result, jokes and railing ensued. Qantas was a good sport about the whole affair.
Lesson: admit when you’ve done wrong!
Bing decided to do a little exploitation in an effort to raise money for the earthquake victims in Japan. They told users they would give a dollar to earthquake victims for every Retweet of their campaign. As a result, customers took to the Internet and raised a lot of sand. Bing gave a slipshod apology and ended up donating the full 100k, which is what they should have done to begin with.
Lesson: Tweets for lives is never a good idea!
Learn how to Tweet!
These legendary fails prove one thing… people pay attention. That is the good news and the bad news too. What was intended as a joke can come across as incredibly insensitive if not handled properly. Semantics do not translate well in the written word so sometimes the message or tone gets a little convoluted. The bottom line is this – the next time you think about sending out a “harmless” company tweet, think twice before you hit send.