Social Media Horror Stories

By October 29, 2015Marketing, Social Media

Hello boys and ghouls!  It’s almost Halloween, and for this week’s blog post we’ve compiled a list that is sure to send a chill down any marketer’s spine.  Mistakes at work are common, but when someone in marketing makes a mistake their snafu is usually alarmingly public.  Today we’re sharing a few of the  most terrifying social media horror stories that have ever crept across a timeline.  Turn off the lights, grab some popcorn, and be prepared to feel the fright!

Attack of the Poorly Tied-In Tweet

I have a dream that cereal will stay crunchy in milk

I have a dream that cereal will stay crunchy in milk

Time for a quick quiz!  On a solemn national holiday day, businesses with social media accounts should:

A.) Acknowledge the holiday subtly

B.) Use it as a way to promote their products or message

If you answered B, you must have worked for one of the many companies that used Martin Luther King Jr. Day for free publicity.  The Chicago Tribune put together a great photo gallery that shows all of the strange and borderline disrespectful ways companies chose to celebrate MLK Day. Martin Luther King Jr. stood for a lot of things, but cereal, diapers, and roast beef sandwiches probably weren’t high on his list of priorities.

Invasion of the Wrong Content

Breaking News: Cat triumphantly views plunder and booty

Breaking News: Cat triumphantly views plunder and booty

Rule #1 of social media: Don’t send a picture or a link without double checking that it’s the right one.

Recently the Associated Press tweeted that the director of the CIA had their private e-mail account hacked.  The link they included with the tweet wasn’t a write up of the story, or statements from the CIA.  It was a video of a cat in a pirate costume.  Let that sink in: the world’s most trusted source for news mistakenly sent out a silly cat video with a story about a potentially devastating data breech.  They deleted their tweet, but by that time the damage was already done.  

Night of the Poor PR Move

This was the least depressing photo we could find related to the hashtag

This was the least depressing photo we could find related to the hashtag

If your company or organization is experiencing a scandal, the last thing you’d want to do is draw unneeded attention to yourself.  In April 2014, the New York City Police Department was under intense scrutiny because of heavily publicized cases of brutality.  In an effort to counteract the negative publicity, someone in their organization launched a campaign asking their twitter followers to post photos of their interactions with the NYPD.  It didn’t take long for their page to be flooded with shocking images of police brutality.  Their attempt at positive PR backfired tremendously, and their social media folly spread like wildfire.

These are just a few of many examples of horrifying social media fails.  Remember to post responsibly this Halloween, or you could end up in our next tale of social media horrors.

Author everymerchant

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