Last week, we took a look at some of the greatest social media campaigns so far this year. This week, we’re going to head the the other end of the spectrum and look at some of the worst (and ugliest) campaigns we’ve seen lately.
MLK Day Fail
The first example of when a social media campaign goes wrong comes from a store in Minnesota called Global Village Duluth. Over Martin Luther King Jr. Day in 2014, this store decided to post a sale to their Facebook. The sale was if you shop at their store on this day you get 25% off everything black. You can definitely see where they failed on this one. While they most likely had good intentions, this just shows how a simple and seemingly harmless post can be construed as racist or insensitive. We’ve seen this many times over the years where companies make an ill-conceived attempt to take advantage of a holiday and fail miserably. When making a holiday post on social media, it is important to take into consideration the type of holiday and whom the post may offend. Not doing so may result in bad publicity for your business, which can be detrimental.
In April of 2014 (yup, we’re still talking about it a year later… it’s that bad), the NYPD thought that it would be a good idea to get some feedback on all of the great things that the NYPD has done for the city of New York. They did this by starting a hash tag of #myNYPD. What followed was a disaster. The city of New York used this as a way to express all of their complaints of racial profiling, corrupt officers, and police brutality that they had experienced. What the NYPD did wrong was that they did not take into consideration what the public view of them was. Many people use social media to express their complaints and concerns, and the NYPD just gave them an outlet for that. The important message for all companies on social media is that when you post a discussion about the public opinion of your company, make sure that it’s a positive view to start out with.
— Occupy Wall Street (@OccupyWallStNYC) April 22, 2014
Taking Advantage of Tragedies
When tragedies happen such as the Boston Marathon, it is a kind and touching thing for an organization to express their grief and wish people the best. In fact, this is a great way to build your company image and show people that you truly care about others. That being said, there is a fine line between being considerate and being insensitive. One example of when a company crosses that line comes from a couple tweets made by Epicurious, an informational website about food and recipe’s. After the tragedy at the Boston Marathon, Epicurious posted a couple tweets that talk about the marathon and promoting their food products at the same time. Nobody who was mourning the deaths of the marathon and reading this tweet was thinking, “you know what, a whole-grain cranberry scone would ease my pain.” No matter what the intentions, NEVER promote your product when you are remembering a tragedy like this.