You may have heard of the tweet sent out on the KitchenAid Twitter feed on the evening of the first presidential debate a week ago or so. If not, let’s just say somebody’s looking for a new job, probably in Fiji.
To their credit KitchenAid handled it in perfect fashion, owning up to the mistake, apologizing and making themselves, specifically the head of their social media team, available for interviews and/or public flogging. It will probably fade away because of this smart handling and is a great example of how to keep this kind of incident from blowing your brand reputation. It’s also another reason why your professional and personal social media accounts should be kept far, far away from each other. Also, don’t be a hater.
It’s certainly not the first nor will it be the last time a major brand shoots the bird so to speak.
So just for a bit of fun and to show you that even a big brand with a dedicated social media staff makes mistakes let’s look at some other mistakes. Some of them are pretty epic (and highly entertaining) and if you take one thing away from them let it be relief that if you make a social media faux pas your mistakes probably won’t go global.
Kenneth Cole and Cairo
In 2011, Egypt erupted in violence as hundreds of thousands took the streets in an effort to gain democracy. At the time of the tweet a dozen people had died with hundreds injured. Which is the perfect time to promote your clothing line.
“Millions are in uproar in #Cairo. Rumor is they heard our new spring collection is now available online.”
This was followed by multiple fake tweets sent out in the same insensitive style. My favorite was, “Don’t be a Tiananmen Square! Add some color to your look with our red V-Neck Tee. #KennethColeTweets”
Ragu Makes Dads Mad
We all loved Ragu as kids, it was fun to say and the ads were on TV constantly. So naturally to bring your brand into the social media age you work very hard to tick off half the population of planet Earth. The social media Einsteins at Unilever, Ragu’s parent company, created a series of videos of moms bagging on their husbands ineptitude in the kitchen and whether it’s true or not (I’m going with mostly true but whatever) it caused a huge wave of indignant daddy bloggers (didn’t know there were any) who wrote, tweeted and put their hands on their hips for hating on the menfolk.
@whatstrending: “Steve Jobs Is Dead”
Although he is, indeed, dead now, back in September of 2011 a webshow called “What’s Trending?”, affiliated with CBS, tweeted that Jobs had indeed, shuffled off his mortal coil, only to recall the Tweet minutes later. Minutes later in 2011 is equal to five days in 1990s time and of course it got out there. CBS immediately pointed the finger at the host who pointed her finger at a junior staffer who, sadly, could point to no one but her roommate who was selling iPhone 3s from the trunk of her car.
Chrysler Disses Detroit
“I find it ironic that Detroit is known as the #motorcity and yet no one here knows how to f*cking drive.”
So tweeted Chrysler. The car maker. From Detroit. Their social media handlers mixed up personal and professional accounts in May 2011 and the tweeter is now spending more time with his family.
And lastly, never, ever use a natural disaster to promote your product. Ever.
KFC Shakes It Up
KFC, the company that actually made us forget that their name contains the word “fried”, didn’t export that marketing genius to Thailand. Immediately after an earthquake whomever was manning its Facebook page posted this:
“People should hurry home this evening to monitor the earthquake situation and don’t forget to order the KFC menu, which will be delivered direct to your hands,”
Unless you don’t have a home anymore in which case you won’t have an address for the KFC guy to find you.
So you see, even huge corporations can botch social media from time to time, everyone makes mistakes. But this shouldn’t keep you from establishing a firm web presence; it simply makes good business these days. These silly examples are just to show that if you make a mistake you just say, “Whoops!” and move on. Be honest, be contrite and be on your way.
DataComm Plus can help you navigate the path to social media marketing success. From blogging to how to navigate Facebook, we can show you just how to use social media to get results. Call us anytime to set up a consulting appointment.
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