5 of the Biggest Social Media Disasters

Social media sites make it possible for bad news to travel the world in minutes. While sites like Twitter and Facebook are valuable for promotional efforts, they still pose many dangers. Proper employee training and careful use of all Internet communications will help protect you from social media disasters like these.

The Overtired Comcast Technician


Image via Flickr by scriptingnews

In 2006, a Comcast customer received an unforgettable service call. Instead of performing the job at hand, the technician fell asleep on the customer’s couch. The customer then videotaped the sleeping tech and turned it into a YouTube video. This is just one example of how social media can spread a solitary poor customer service experience across the country. If this happens to you, have someone like digital privacy company Reputation.com help you recover the situation.

Gross Misuse of Chrysler’s Twitter Account

It’s bad enough when an employee accidentally posts to your company’s Twitter account thinking it’s his own. The situation becomes exponentially worse when said employee’s tweet is directly related to your product and actively insults some of your customers. That’s what happened when a Chrysler employee tweeted “I find it ironic that Detroit is known as the motorcity and yet no one here knows how to (expletive) drive.” The lesson: Don’t access business and personal accounts on the same device.

Denny’s Promotion of the Wrong Twitter

Denny’s printed more than 1,500 new menus in 2010 to promote their social media sites. The plan went terribly wrong when Denny’s printed an incorrect Twitter account. Customers visiting the page found a boy named Denny who lives in Taiwan and not the famous restaurant chain. This disaster just underscores a PR rule that has existed since long before social media was around: proofread, proofread, and proofread again.

Habitat UK’s Blatant Spamming on Twitter

Trending hashtags are a smart way to get your tweets noticed, but you have to use them correctly. @HabitatUK provided a stellar example of how not to tweet when it began including completely irrelevant hashtags in its posts to gain more exposure. The furniture company included tags such as #iranianelection in their tweets, making it blatantly clear that they were spamming. This is one PR disaster that isn’t easily undone. Avoid this mistake and learn how to use social media sites properly.

Ryanair Repeatedly Insults Blogger

It’s inevitable that you’ll eventually have a disgruntled customer who doesn’t think too highly of your company. Your response should never be to engage in a public quarrel. This is just what Ryanair did when a blogger pointed out a programming glitch on the company’s website. First, a staff member posted an insulting comment on the blog. Strike one. The company should have followed this with an apology but instead they released a statement that their staffers would no longer “waste time and energy in corresponding with idiot bloggers.” These appallingly rude communications put a serious dent in Ryanair’s image.

Always exercise care on social media sites and try to stay on top of the latest news and trends so you can do damage control quickly if you’re caught in a bad situation.

Article by John Smeth

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