Top 8 Social Media Fails by Big Brands and Ways to Avoid Their Mistakes

Everyone makes mistakes. Some are bigger than others – and some are certainly more visible.

On social media, ideas, products, and thoughts are more visible than ever – especially those from popular companies and organizations. And some companies just haven’t quite mastered the art of sending the perfect 140-character tweet. That can lead to some pretty epic social media fails by big, worldwide brands.

Here are some of the most head-shaking social media mistakes made by big companies.

1. NRA

What happened? The NRA posted a pro-gun tweet, which isn’t out of character for the group. But, timing is everything. It just so happened that the NRA posted that tweet the same day as the Aurora shootings in Colorado.

Twitter Fail: American Rifleman

What we learned: You really cannot underestimate timing. While the tweet was clearly a coincidence (it was sent a few hours before the shooting) the NRA should have kept a better eye on its posts – especially if they are scheduled out.

2. Celeb Boutique

What happened? Unlike the NRA, which sent their tweet prior to the tragedy, CelebBoutique sent this tweet after the fact:

Twitter Fail: Celeb Boutique

What we learned: Check. The. Hashtags. Celeb Boutique didn’t click on the actual hashtag to see why it was trending in the first place – a very public and embarrassing mistake.

3. Kitchen Aid

What happened: Just about everyone has an opinion on President Obama’s healthcare reform – but some people should stay out of it. Like Kitchen Aid. A member of its team sent this tweet (likely intended for a personal Twitter account) back in September:

Twitter Fail: Kitchen Aid

What we learned: Be sensitive. Not everyone agrees with the President’s ideas, but you can bet that most people care about showing sensitivity in matters like a death in the family. And, just to be safe, avoid politics.

4. Kenneth Cole

What happened? Retailer Kenneth Cole thought that the uprisings taking place in Cairo would
be a good time to send this tweet:

Twitter Fail: Kenneth Cole

What we learned: Don’t use political unrest to plug your spring collection.

5. American Airlines

What happened: A lot of big companies schedule out tweets and posts to make their social media presence easier to manage. But, that can make you look pretty foolish, as American Airlines found out when they automatically replied positively to negative tweets:

Twitter Fail: American Airlines

What we learned: Just because scheduling out posts is time-efficient, doesn’t mean it’s always efficient in bulking up your reputation. American Airlines made itself look incompetent and uncaring.

6. British Airways

What happened: One of the biggest adjustments that huge companies had to make on social media? Being accessible at all hours of the day. British Airways apparently doesn’t stick to 24/7 customer service, even though its customers are online 24/7. When a passenger unsuccessfully asked for help in tracking down a lost bag, he voiced his displeasure with a paid promoted tweet that was seen by 76,000 people.

Twitter Fail: Bristish Airways

What we learned: Your Twitter feed has to be monitored 24/7 – especially if you’re in a business (like an airline) where people are constantly impacted by your company.

7. McDonald’s

What happened: Using hashtags to promote a product = good idea. Using a vague hashtag that then gets spun negatively = what happened to McDonald’s. Last year, McDonald’s promoted the hashtag #McDStories in the hopes that customers would share positive, happy stories about their Mickey D’s experience. What they got was a bunch of tweets like this:

Twitter Fail: McDonalds

What we learned: If you’re going to use a promotional hashtag, make sure it’s one specific enough to get the desired result.

8. Home Depot

What happened: Home Depot, a sponsor of ESPN’s College GameDay, ended up firing the employee who sent posted this tweet:

Twitter Fail: Home Depot

What we learned: Racism, even when used in humor, is never going to with followers. What do most of these blunders have in common? Twitter. It’s a type first, think later medium, and that can lead to problems. You can always delete a tweet – but once it’s posted, retweeted or shared, it’s out there forever.

Here are a few closing tips to keep in mind:

1. Think before you tweet. Don’t use a natural disaster or a controversial news story to promote your company. Epicurious used the Boston Bombings as a platform to promote its scones. It had to spend a lot of time apologizing afterward, understandably so.

2. Respond in a timely way. This is especially important for companies that need to operate 24/7, like telcos Comcast and Verizon and airlines. Replying to customers when they have an immediate problem goes a long way in showing you care.

3. Keep it light if you want to keep it timely. Brands like Tide, Volkswagen and Jim Beam used the Super Bowl blackout to cleverly and light-heartedly promote their products. Nothing controversial – just clever, timely and fun tweets.
What social media fails have you seen on Twitter?

Michelle Smith is a freelance writer with a focus on social media and marketing. She can be found typing away on her laptop in sunny Boca Raton, Florida. Michelle welcomes your feedback at

Social Media Community Management

We believe social media community management works best when you don’t manage anything.

Social Media Community Management Agency

We like to think of our social media community management agency as a way to control chaos. It’s our job first and foremost to get the right people into the community. Then, it’s our job to encourage chaos to happen so that a social media community can market and brand products.

Here’s a story about the Markitors approach to social media community management:

Faces In The Mirror is an independent movie that’s been categorized by Reader’s Digest as “The Movie That Sings.” The movie is a psychedelic drama that’s about a young man who returns home to bury his father. The story is propelled by a soundtrack that features artists like Boyd Tinsley, Dave Matthews Band, Shawn Smith, Maktub, and more.

The Faces In The Mirror social media community consists of music fans, Dave Matthews Band fans, indie movie fanatics, and Narnia. Our social media community management agency decided early on to see what kind of creative ideas could come from this eclectic group of people. We’re glad we took this managerial approach.

The Faces In The Mirror social media community decided to launch it’s own marketing initiative to market the premiere of the movie. Days before the premiere, the community raided Target stores all over the nation to rearrange tissue boxes with letters to spell “Faces In The Mirror.” “Faces Across America” was originally thought of by @jrdmb23. As the social media community management agency, Markitors supported this viral social campaign by sharing our favorite photos to encourage the activity.

Faces Across America - Faces In The Mirror - JRDMB23

Social Media Community Management Agency

Faces In The Mirror - Virginia

Social Media Community Management Agency - Phoenix, AZ - Markitors

Screen shot 2012-08-27 at 9.43.55 AM

Social Media Community Management Agency - Phoenix, AZ - Markitors

Social Media Community Management Agency - Phoenix, AZ - Markitors

Social Media Community Management Agency - Phoenix, AZ - Markitors

Social Media Community Management Agency - Phoenix, AZ - Markitors

Social Media Community Management Agency - Phoenix, AZ - Markitors

As the day progressed, the campaign spread beyond tissue boxes. Community members took to crosswalks, whiteboards, and yes, mirrors to spell out the name of the movie and the premiere date.

Social Media Community Management Agency - Phoenix, AZ - Markitors

Social Media Community Management Agency - Phoenix, AZ - Markitors

Social Media Community Management Agency - Phoenix, AZ - Markitors

Social Media Community Management Agency - Phoenix, AZ - Markitors

Social Media Community Management Agency - Phoenix, AZ - Markitors

Social Media Community Management Agency - Phoenix, AZ - Markitors

“Faces Across America” is an example of how powerful a community can be given the right social media community management approach. For more information on how Markitors can develop, manage and cultivate a social media community for your company, please contact us.

Social Media Giveaway

How do you use a social media giveaway as a part of an online indie movie marketing strategy?

Social Media Giveaway

Markitors social media giveaway approach:

Faces In The Mirror is a film that naturally lends itself to a social media giveaway. With the national movie premiere taking place in late August, Markitors launched a social media giveaway that encouraged fans to submit a photo of their “face in the mirror” for a chance to win tickets to the premiere with Boyd Tinsley from the Dave Matthews Band.

An independent panel of judges selected ten finalists from thousands of photo submissions. The Faces In The Mirror Facebook community then voted for the winning photo. The photo with the most likes and unique comments would send the finalist and friend to Seattle for the premiere. The winner would also go to the Gorge for a three day Dave Matthews Band show. The runner ups would receive a Faces In The Mirror movie poster signed by members of the Dave Matthews Band.

The Faces In The Mirror social media giveaway resulted in the following:

  • One social interaction (a comment, like, or share) every 10 seconds during the final day of the contest
  • Photos received more than 500,000 organic impressions on social media sites like Facebook
  • Organically increased Facebook “LIKES” by 50% over the course of the campaign
  • Increased brand recall of Faces In The Mirror
  • Successfully launched an online premiere with Faces In The Mirror entrants in late August

Here are the ten photos from the social media giveaway that were selected as finalists. The first one was the winner.

Social Media Giveaway - Winning Entry

Social Media Giveaway - Online Movie Marketing

Social Media Giveaway - Markitors

Social Media Giveaway

Social Media Giveaway

Social Media Giveaway

Social Media Giveaway

Social Media Giveaway

Social Media Giveaway

Social Media Giveaway

For a look at all the faces in the mirror entries, visit the Faces In The Mirror Facebook page. For social media giveaway ideas for your company, please contact us.

Social Media Retail Marketing | Social Media Management

How do you bring fashion to fans through social media retail marketing?

social media retail marketing

Markitors social media retail marketing approach:

Bringing fashion to every fan, Sportiqe Apparel merges casual sportswear with trend-driven designs for licensed apparel in the sports, music, food and corporate markets. Constantly looking towards the most current trends in fashion, Sportiqe has developed a niche in the licensed apparel industry with coveted styles that have been worn on the sidelines by celebrities, athletes, musicians, industry leaders and consumers alike.

Sportiqe has done an incredible job building the offline segments of their business since the company’s founding in 2006. They work with brands like EA Sports, the NBA, ESPN, Jockey, Playboy and more. When it came to replicating their offline success, Sportiqe turned to Markitors to bring fashion to fans online through social media retail marketing.

Markitors managed the monthly outreach, did social media monitoring, management and development by doing the following:

  • Real time social media monitoring of key terms around NBA, ESPN, EA Sports & more branded T-shirts
  • Managed digital advertising strategy by posting to Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Linkedin and Google+ every day of the week
  • Reviewed and revised existing marketing channels like sales confirmations, social media assets, and email communications.
  • Built and optimized branded social media assets on Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Foursquare and Flickr

By managing the social media retail marketing strategy, Markitors has helped Sportiqe bring more of their fashionable apparel to fans around the world. Celebrities like Jay-Z, Beyonce, the Kardashians and more athletes have been spotted in Sportiqe. When these celebs are spotted, our social media retail marketing continualy enables Sportiqe to develop sustainable and reliable online retail assets for their business.

To learn more about our social media retail marketing services, like Markitors on Facebook or call us at 602.910.1214.

Faces In The Mirror Midnight Screening In Toronto

Dave Matthews Band is on their Winter Tour, and last night we piggybacked off their concert in Toronto to have a midnight screening of Boyd Tinsley’s new movie, Faces In The Mirror.

Boyd Tinsley is the violinist in Dave Matthews Band, and we’ve been working with him for awhile now on spreading the word about his film. Last night, DMB fans had a chance to have the night any fan would dream of: a DMB concert AND the opportunity to watch a movie with one of the band members. Lots of fans took advantage of this rare opportunity, as you can see from the pictures below.

Markitors has done some crazy movie marketing with Boyd and this film since the release in August. Contact us, and we’ll tell you about some of the other stuff we’ve done.

Boyd Tinsley - Faces In The Mirror

Boyd Tinsley - Faces In The Mirror

Boyd Tinsley - Faces In The Mirror

Boyd Tinsley - Faces In The Mirror

Boyd Tinsley - Faces In The Mirror

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