Sometimes, major corporations mess up on social media.
Automated @replies can end up saying something that's wildly inappropriate in the context of what the recipient actually said.
Embarrassing typos can happen, too.
Or, someone can accidentally jump on a trending hashtag without knowing what it is or what it's for.
This can lead a company to take a hashtag related to something very sobering and serious, then flippantly use it to promote a product.
So you've got to keep an eye on these kind of things if you're using social media as part of your marketing strategy.
Even enormous international companies with astronomical marketing budgets have made some pretty embarrassing mistakes in the past. It happens.
But at the same time, we can sometimes get a laugh out of these Twitter snafus.
In a recent blog post, Hubspot gives some examples of social media fails.
Ten Cents off Your Next Playstation
In 2015, Amazon created #PrimeDay as its own corporate version of a Cyber Monday. Unfortunately, at that point, many of the discounts and offerings didn’t quite live up to consumer expectations — and the hashtag went viral for all the wrong reasons.
One kicker came when Amazon offered a whopping $0.10 discount on the Sony PlayStation 4 Console. It didn’t take long for #PrimeDayFail to start trending on Twitter.
— lupe (@cherryyyybomb) July 15, 2015
How to Turn a Fail into a Win
Robots aren’t always smarter. In 2014, a Google bot mistakenly attributed an offensive slogan to U.K.-based bakery, Greggs. Hilarity — to some, at least, ensued when Greggs’ Digital Brand Manager, Neil Knowles, turned a potential brand disaster into a monumental win.
Thanks to the clever back-and-forth between Knowles and the Google team, and the massive publicity garnered by the exchange, Google’s original error wound up being one of the best things to ever happen to Greggs.
— Greggs (@GreggsOfficial) August 19, 2014
A Giraffe for Ghana
Sometimes, all it takes to avoid a social media fail is a simple Google search.
During the 2014 World Cup game between the USA and Ghana, Delta sent out a congratulatory tweet to the U.S. soccer team. The tweet included an image of the Statue of Liberty with a “2” representing the U.S. score, and a giraffe with a “1” that was meant to represent team Ghana’s score.
There was one tall problem: Ghana doesn’t have giraffes. Of course, Twitter users jumped all over that one.
— theScore (@theScore) June 17, 2014
Just remember: It’s always best to take extra time to conduct some easy research, and avoid social media gaffes — no pun intended — like this one.
You can read about more social media mishaps and disasters over at Hubspot.