We list our top 5 most cringe-worthy social media fails and the corresponding ways to avoid this online PR disaster.
Social media is a great platform to boost your brand awareness and authority. And if you’re a small business, it offers a unique advantage because it levels the playing field, allowing you to reach your audience even if your marketing budget is only a fraction of your competitors’.
However, be careful with what you post on these platforms as some social media marketing fails have led to a huge PR disaster, prompting customers and businesses to boycott some brands that shared offensive posts (even though some of them were “honest mistakes”).
Here, we list some of the arguably most cringe-worthy social media fails in recent years:
Instagram influencer copypaste the instruction from his sponsor.
Keeping up with the Kardashians Scott Disick posted an Instagram photo with a caption: “Here you go, at pm est, write the below. Caption: Keeping up with the summer workout routine with my morning @booteauk protein shake.”
While the reality TV star immediately changed the caption, his followers (and trolls) were quick to screenshot and share his faux pas.
The moral of the story? Always review, proofread, and edit your caption before posting it online.
Despite this cringe-worthy mistake, some people argued that the sponsor might have enjoyed more publicity than they paid for. (FYI, it’s been reported that Disick earns at least $20,000 per sponsored post.)
Beauty company insults customers for being poor.
In 2017, beauty company Z Palette posted a photo of its product, an $85-worth hot plate that is used to melt lipstick and concealers to create customized hues. And when some of the customers complained about the price, everything spiraled out of control.
The company replied with these bizarre tirades:
A few days after posting these tirades, the company released a “non-sorry apology” and said that “It’s not how many friends/customers you have, it’s the quality of those customers.”
When using social media for your brand–or even for your personal use–the number one rule is to never lose your cool and never burn bridges, which was exactly what happened to Z Palette. After the online fiasco, many retailers, makeup artists, influencers, and fans cut ties with the beauty company.
Ride-sharing company’s automated response put it in hot water.
In 2019, a Twitter troll had a username that displayed the N-word and tweeted his alleged bad experience while using Uber. The company replied with an automated response that said, “We’re so sorry about that N&@*#.”
Because the troll changed his username, the ride-sharing company’s response was immediately seen as a racial slur, a PR disaster that could have been prevented if they had only used a simple filter setting.
Online retailer posts an ill-timed and insensitive ads amidst the pandemic.
Over the years, online retailer Asos has been gaining fans with its cutting-edge fashion. But last year, as the world stood still because of the novel coronavirus, the company posted a bizarre-looking product–a shiny, hole-laden chain face mask, which it claimed to be “ideal for festival and flu season.”
Designer hijacks a popular hashtag tweet to promote their new spring collection.
In 2011, Kenneth Cole tweeted the #Cairo hashtag to promote their new spring collection, resulting in a huge online backlash for using a politically sensitive issue just to get people’s attention.
(Backgrounder: When the American clothing designer posted the offending tweet, protests had been erupting throughout Egypt, which led to widespread violence and civilian and police casualties.)
Brands should stop believing this antiquated belief that any attention is good attention. In a highly interconnected online world, bad attention almost always leads to bad results, or to be more exact, bad sales.
A good rule of thumb is to avoid posting overtly political and religious content because you’re bound to offend some of your audience who don’t share your views.
Did you enjoy the article? For more tips on social media management, read our Top 7 Social Media Management Tools in 2021. You can also contact us at (916) 303-4080 to get a free consultation.
At LOJO Marketing, we can help you reach your target audience and boost your online brand using best practices in social media management.