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Brands and Businesses Tarnished By Twitter: A Collection




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You're probably already aware that Twitter can be a social media blessing or curse. Marketing campaigns can gain momentum in minutes, and hashtags can be hijacked by haters. With huge earning and publicity potential on the one hand, the down side is that one bad post has the potential to ruin your company's credibility. Whether it's a slip of the keyboard, a jaded employee or just plain stupidity, here's a round up of some of the high-profile companies that learnt the hard way.


CHRYSLER: To be fair to them, this wasn't Chrysler's fault. The PR and marketing firm working for the car company, New Media Strategies, definitely had an interesting strategy when an employee who controlled Chrysler's social media forgot to log out of the company's account and into his personal one. In what was supposed to be a personal rant, the employee broadcast to their followers that he found it "ironic that Detroit is known as the #motorcity and yet none knows how to f***ing drive". Insulting the public and dropping the f-bomb - that's one hell of a double whammy. Needless to say, after the employee's blunder he was quickly shown the door, but that didn't stop Chrysler from ending their contract with the agency.



MCDONALDS: Usually a social media mogul, McDonald's messed up with their hashtag campaign #McDStories. It was supposed to back up a previous hashtag, #Meetthefarmers, with the purpose of promoting the quality of their suppliers. Instead, it became a huge online playground for scornful ex-customers. Stories flooded in, but they definitely weren't the ones they had hoped for.



QANTAS AIRLINES: Qantas didn't put that much thought into the timing of one of their Twitter campaigns. After many of their planes were grounded the day before, the business still proceeded to go ahead with a scheduled social media assault for Quantas Luxury. However, there were plenty of customers still seething from the day before, who did not hesitate in using the hashtag to slam them. Surprisingly, Qantas didn't take it to heart too much, and threw a couple of humorous quips back.




VODAFONE: One homophobic tweet got the mobile phone company in some seriously hot water. In a post that was originally thought to be the result of a hacker, an employee caused a PR catastrophe with the above tweet. Complaints came through in their droves, and the media soon caught wind. The employee was suspended, and Vodafone has now strived to have stricter account access.




HABITAT: Back in 2009, Habitat made a pretty obvious blunder by choosing to spam the world of Twitter whilst using trending hashtags. It no doubt boosted their traffic, but lost them credibility in the process. The worst example came when they used the #MOUSAVI, as it was linked to a sensitive situation in Iran at the time. The company later said that the tweets weren't approved to use the hashtags - yeah right.





OREO: Automated replies can be helpful, but they can also miss the obvious. In 2014, the cookie brand failed to spot this Twitter trouble-maker, and sent out a pleasant message to a racially aggravated user. Followers slated the company for not noticing the mishap.

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MARC JACOBS: A disgruntled intern at the fashion brand went on a tirade about Robert Duffy, CEO at the time, on the company's official Twitter account in 2011. Why you would let an inexperienced (and clearly highly-strung) intern handle the brand's social media accounts escapes me, but thats what they did whilst looking for a full-time position to be filled. That smart business move soon backfired, as the intern used the site to slate the job, accuse Duffy of being a 'tyrant', and warn off future employees at the firm. Pretty embarrassing at best, brand damaging at worst.


So there you have it. Be careful who you employ, pay attention to your automated posts, pre-empt the reception of your hashtags and be aware of timing.  Whilst most of these companies have the power and influence to bounce back from these Twitter disasters, it may be harder for a smaller, independent business. By all means, use Twitter as part of your social media artillery - just do it with consideration or face the consequences.



SMF rookie, fresh out of academia, looking forward to more creative ventures. With a love of current affairs, green tea and an ever insatiable wanderlust, Katie is ready to have her voice heard. Follow her @KatieAtSMF


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Brands and Businesses Tarnished By Twitter: A Collection Reviewed by Katie Gascoyne on Thursday, October 29, 2015 Rating: 5

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