When Twitter goes rogue

By Ashley John - Digital Marketing Consultant. 

Social media is a fantastic way for businesses to reach out to audiences and draw in potential new customers. In recent years, companies have taken advantage of the platform Twitter to create content that is fun and engaging in hopes of going viral. However, there are times when corporate tweets just make you cringe!

Here is a run-down of 6 of the most cringeworthy business Twitter fails that’ll have you running to a professional to manage your social media accounts!

Revenge of HMV staff

In 2013, HMV wasn’t having the best of times, and the music retailer was facing administration, meaning the fates of workers were unknown. Using the hashtag #hmvXFactorFiring, a group of rogue employees took over the official HMV Twitter account to draw back the curtain of the mass firings happening at the music giant.

The group were eventually stopped, but not before it was reported that the company’s Marketing Director asked ‘how do I shut down Twitter?’. It’s important to know who has access to a brand’s social media accounts as this incident proves!

Ed Balls

Ed Balls tweet

Everyone has a favourite holiday; for most people, it’s Christmas or Halloween or their birthday, but for the social media savvy, the best holiday is April 28th – Ed Balls’ Day. The holiday celebrates the day that Labour Party politician and Strictly Come Dancing superstar tweeted his own name, presumably thinking he was searching for tweets containing his name.

It’s not unusual for people and companies to search their own name (we’re all narcissists at heart and competitor research is vital in any digital marketing campaign), but sometimes it can backfire. If you do find yourself in this situation, hope that it ends up being more endearing than embarrassing.

Rita Ora’s backtrack

Twitter can be a brilliant platform to get an audience excited for a forthcoming product or event, unfortunately, it’s possible for this hype-building to backfire, as Rita Ora found out when she offered to leak her latest record if a tweet garnered 100,000 retweets. Her tweet didn’t reach that number, not even close; the tweet got just over 1,000 tweets, a meagre 1/100th of what the singer had wanted.

She followed that tweet by saying she had been hacked and that she had no intention of releasing her music early. Sure thing, Rita, sure.

Sleepy Tesco

Tesco tweet

Who remembers the Tesco horse meat scandal? No, don’t put your hand up, it was a rhetorical question. Everyone remembers the Tesco horse meat scandal!

What people don’t remember as often (which is lucky for the supermarket chain) is Tesco’s social media blunder the day the news broke. The Tesco customer care team, obviously tired from a hard day’s work didn’t check their scheduled tweets, so when the account tweeted about hitting the hay at the end of the day, it won’t surprise you to know that there was a fair bit of outrage.

The lesson here is always check your scheduled tweets!

Hillary Clinton is down with the kids

Hillary Clinton tweet

One of the biggest ways Twitter brands and personalities stumble is when they make a misguided attempt to relate to young people. This could involve incorrectly co-opting slang and memes, or just demonstrating how widely out of touch you are by undermining the abilities of young people.

One of the most prominent examples of misguided attempts to relate was made by Hillary Clinton’s social media team, who went to Twitter to ask young people how they felt about student loan debt. The catch however, was that they were asked to explain in 3 emojis or less. It’s easy to see how this one backfired. It’s a tweet that made us feel rocketship, upside-down face, crown emoji.

Unexpected turbulence

Saving the best for last, this is probably the most embarrassing and cringeworthy example of why you should always double-check before you send a post into the heartless social media world, and it comes from US Airways.

When responding to a customer service query on Twitter, US Airways managed to attach an image that (a) featured an airplane, (b) was not even slightly safe for work, and (c) would get me in a lot of trouble if I attached it to this blog. You can probably find the tweet if you Google it, but I do not recommend it, especially if there’s someone looking over your shoulder.

Please, double-proof your tweets, and hopefully you won’t accidentally send out adult material to all of your followers!

If this post has made you scared to manage your own social media accounts, worry not. At Orantec, we provide a professional social media management service that has yet to cause a scandal online, and that’s a record we intend on keeping. For more information get in touch today, or follow us on Facebook or Twitter.


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