10 Famous Social Media Blunders of 2010

Social media is gaining popularity, however, with each blunder, organizations are realizing that social media is not as easy as one might imagine. Also, that a lot of research is required before going into social media as an option or hiring top social media agencies . The following are famous blunders on social media.

  1. Wall Mart on Facebook : After Target’s successful stint with social marketing, Wal-Mart decided to try its luck too. However, it used a different approach to restrict comments and feedback on its Facebook page to “Wall Posts”, while Target set up a discussion board. When Bloggers took notice of this lack of conversation, it resulted in anti-Wal-Mart posts on the wall. Apart from providing a discussion board for its users, other blunders were that they didn’t study the media enough to see how it works, additionally their general target were older people and were publishing content in a media that is younger, worse still they did not rebrand in this medium to attract their target new audience.
  2. InsidetheBCS on Twitter : The BCS system was considered flawed by many college football enthusiasts. However, the company performed public suicide by taking this flawed argument and made it even more visible on Twitter. They hired a public relations firm to help highlight the positive aspects of the BCS. Also, for most part of their first few tweets all they dealt with was image management. Needless to say, this invoked a lot of responses by angry fans.
  3. WPMI-TV’s Twitter Billboard : An Alabama news station, WPMI-TV, decided to put up tweets from the LOCAL15NEWS Twitter account on a highway billboard. The 30 ft billboard was used to display tweets, as a way to connect to the station’s follower. It adorned an image of three of its most photogenic anchors, and added a live Twitter feed. The problem was that some of the tweets caught drivers’ attention because of their rather graphic nature. One time though one of the readers took a picture of a tweet with a concocted tweet that lead to the suspension of WPMI-TV’s general manager and news director. (Image Credit – Palmetto Scoop via Mashable)
  4. Skittles on Twitter Campaign : Although it should have worked out in their favor, Skittles underestimated the power of tweeting when it utilized Twitter. They had created a website that pulls content from Twitter when anyone mentions ‘skittles’. Twitter users felt let down because there was really no communication with the product or the company, instead their posts were just used as fodder for the sites website. What followed was Twitter users posting profane messages on Twitter with a mention of ‘skittles’. All these messages were pulled into their website. This forced the company to move the Twitter feed from being prominent on the page to a small link in the page.
  5. Ryan Air and the Blogger: In 2009 a blog post was put up which pointed out problems with the Ryan air booking system. During a booking, a web developer named Jason Roe spotted that the cost of his ticket was at £0. He blogged about this on his site explaining what he had seen and including screenshots. However, Ryanair staff started commenting on the post in an aggressive and unhelpful manner. The Ryanair staff comments made the blog post very popular and a very entertaining read. The Ryanair employees ended up losing a few prospective clients because they just didn’t address the problem and went on a defensive and rude approach.
  6. Time Warner : While competing companies had made a name for themselves with their helpful social media customer service, Time Warner has gone another route: squatting on the username TimeWarnerCares. However, TimeWarnerCares, unlike its competitors, didn’t bother to follow anyone, so they had no way to know who wanted to talk with them. Additionally, the twitter page had no bio, photo or link to a website to indicate who was writing these blogs. This social media, it is safe to say, died its natural death.
  7. Vodafone on Twitter : One of Vodafone’s UK employees posted some derogatory comments on homosexuals as a tweet on Vodafone’s Twitter page . This could have given a big blow to the company and its reputations, because a lot of readers reacted and started to debate on the tweet. There were some speculations that the Vodafone page was hacked. Vodafone, however, reacted quickly to the tweet, and apologized. They also confirmed that it was breech of rules, that their page was not hacked, and that they were sorry. They also apologized to each twitter tweeter, removed the tweet, and fired the employee.
  8. HabitatUK on Twitter : In an attempt to promote the spring collection an intern from the company hash tagged current topics to the HabitatUK’s twitter page . This list included the Iranian Presidential election that caused 12 deaths; this caused a lot of outrage and anger from many Twitter Users. However, HabitatUK instead of apologizing immediately just deleted the tweet until they were eventually dragged into an apology because the controversy was getting bigger, and the damage was already done.
  9. BP, the Oil Leak and the Social Media : When the Gulf of Mexico had an uncontrollable spill for what seemed like a 100 years, BP was getting all the attention for all the wrong reasons. The embattled oil company made high costing advertisements, set up a Facebook page and a Twitter page to show that they were doing everything in their control to clean up the mess. However, this effort was a too little and too late. By this time too much of time had passed and BP was criticized for spending all the effort and time to promoting themselves as opposed to stopping the leak and starting the cleanup operation.
  10. Toyota Australia and Social Media: Saatchi & Saatchi an advertising giant won the pitch for Toyota in Australia to launch a social media campaign. Their idea was to host a viral filmmaking contest featuring the Yaris car model. But the campaign embarrassingly saw no entries submitted and gained very few Facebook and Twitter followers. This was followed by a desperate attempt by Saatchi to up the numbers by sending out an even more embarrassing call-to-action email to production companies. If that was not embarrassment enough, the viral video advert, that was finally selected as a winner offended many viewers with its sexism and overtones of incest.

Maybe there are more such failed campaigns you might have come across, we would like to hear the same from you. Share it via comment and let us know!

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