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3 Cringeworthy Social Media Fails


Not all social media campaigns are a success. On the contrary, you don’t have to look far before you see examples of businesses that have managed to fail astronomically. The old adage may be that all PR is good PR – but we can’t help but feel sometimes that certainly isn’t the case…

We’ve collected some of the best (worst) examples of social media fails so that you don’t wind up making the same mistakes…

1. NYPD – Police Backlash

Remember this one? The New York Police Department’s Twitter campaign is now infamous in the world of social media marketing. What they did was encourage users on the platform to tweet their experiences of the police and members of the force, making use of the hashtag #myNYPD. What could go wrong?!

Well it turns out rather a lot. Apparently, over in the big apple ‘the po po’ aren’t held in such high esteem with folk on Twitter – cue mass backlash. Rather than the light-hearted, good-natured photos the police were expecting, instead they were greeted with images displaying rather distressing scenes of police brutality. We’re guessing they won’t be rushing in to their next campaign in a hurry.

2. McDonalds’ McFail

Now not all multi-billion pound companies are great on social media, but when it comes to digital marketing campaigns, McDonalds have got a pretty impressive track record. However, back in 2011 the fast food company attempted to engage its customers by asking them to share stories about eating at McDonalds using the hashtag #McDStories. A great idea to create some quality user generated content? We thought so too, but apparently not.

What McDonalds didn’t expect was the barrage of grief they received detailing everything from shocking customer service, substandard food as well as the companies lack of cleanliness.

3. Kellogg’s – Tweets in exchange for food for the starving

As social media fails go, they don’t couldn’t get much worse than what Kellogg’s tweeted back in November of 2013. Somebody from the cereal manufacturer thought it would be a good idea to post 1 RT = 1 breakfast for a vulnerable child as part of its ‘Give a Child Breakfast campaign’. As expected, the message was immediately attacked for cynically trying to squeeze advertising from starving children. Not a clever move guys. To be fair to them, Kellogg’s deleted the tweet soon after and gave funding to school breakfast clubs in vulnerable areas to compensate.

Social media can be a wonderful tool to raise brand awareness but in the wrong hands, or at the wrong time, it can be detrimental to your business. Great social media management is about so much more than just getting your campaigns away; you should aim to enrich your users timelines with topical, current and relevant content to engage with any many people as possible and give you the best chance of achieving your online objectives.

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