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29 Jan / Some of the Biggest Social Media Marketing Blunders of 2013

There are close to 650 million active registered users on Twitter and over 1.4 billion monthly users on Facebook. These social media platforms, among many others, are a great way to drive traffic to your website and affordably build a community with your target audience. It is no surprise that social media is fast becoming a greater piece of the marketing pie.

As social media is a time-sensitive platform and is updating every second, there are lots of opportunities for major communication mishaps. And, there were plenty of these “oops” moments over the course of 2013.

Tesco Horsemeat Scandal

Photo Source: AP

Wait a Minute…Hay is for Horses!
In January 2013, Irish food inspectors discovered equine DNA in some of the frozen beef stocked by British and Irish grocers; including Tesco Groceries. This proved to be a very bad time for the brand to let this pre-scheduled tweet go out:

“It’s sleepy time so we’re off to hit the hay! See you at 8am for more #TescoTweets”

Tesco apologized for seeming to have made light of the situation; claiming that the tweet was scheduled prior to the scandal hitting.

Lesson: Pre-scheduled tweets may save time, but make sure you are still reviewing content prior to posting. Choose your words carefully, especially if your brand is mid-scandal.

A Social Media Dish Served Cold
The day after the bombings at the Boston Marathon in 2013, the food and cookery website Epicurious tweeted the following:

Epicurious Boston Tweet

Photo Source: Mr. Media Training

“In honor of Boston and New England, may we suggest: whole-grain cranberry scones!”

“Boston, our hearts are with you. Here’s a bowl of breakfast energy we could all use to start today.”

They did delete the tweets and apologized later that same day:

“Our food tweets this morning were, frankly, insensitive. Our deepest, sincere apologies.”

Lesson Learned: Don’t try to tie in your brand’s unrelated social media posts to a major news story, especially a tragedy. Brands including The Gap and American Apparel made similar mistakes in 2012 when trying to get in on the buzz surrounding Hurricane Sandy.

We Will Not Go Down Without…One Last Tweet!

In January 2013 HMV, a British entertainment retailer based in the UK, laid off several of its staff. The manager of the brand’s social media account, who was also let go, took to Twitter live from the HR department announcing:

“There are over 60 of us being fired at once! Mass execution, of loyal employees who love the brand.”

Lesson: Be sure to immediately remove the media manager’s access from your company’s social media platforms in the unfortunate event of a layoff.

Not “Lovin’ It”

Hackers gained access to Burger King’s social media kingdom by breaking into their Twitter page in February of 2013 and creating an ad for its biggest competitor, McDonald’s! Burger King had the page back up and running that same night and reportedly gained thousands of followers during the hack.

Burger King Twitter Hack

Photo Source: Twitter

Lesson: Even a company like Burger King is vulnerable to hackers on their social media sites. Although, considering they gained several thousand more followers during the hack, it is tough to label this as a Whopper of a flop for Burger King!

How can your company avoid these kinds of mishaps? Sabre can develop and manage your brand on all social media networks, as well as assist you in your overall social media strategy. Contact us today for a free consult and steer clear of a social media faux pas in 2014!

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