Let’s be real–none of us want to be sold to 24/7. But “liking” our favorite companies on Facebook can sometimes be a great way to stay in the loop on exclusive promotions and daily specials. Maybe your neighborhood restaurant uses their Twitter feed to give shoutouts to customers, or that retailer you love (but is too pricey to shop all the time) posts sales there first. We”ve all done it, and usually it’s worth the trouble to hit “Follow” and “Like”.
But then there are companies, both big and small, that post something so out of context, so inconsiderate, or so ill-timed… The only word to describe it is: fail! Even though 2013 isn’t quite over yet, there have been some major social media mishaps already…let’s take a trip down (short-term) memory lane, shall we?
5. American Airlines” Automated Tweets
As much as we probably don’t want to admit it, a lot of companies set up automated tweets. American Airlines” Twitter followers found out the hard way that their tweets are computer generated….when a negative Tweet directed at the company got a positive response back. In February, user @murphmarkd had some choice words for the company (read: words not suitable for print), who responded “Thanks for your support!” Whoops. Epic fail, right? I’m not sure of anyone in my inner circle that would “like” their favorite Strip Club on Facebook. Apparently some people are not Facebook friends with their grandma, so they have nothing to worry about. Though, the almost 5000 fans of Spearmint Rhino, in Melbourne, Australia got more than they bargained for when their club of choice posted a baby picture of one of their “Rhino girls”. While this isn’t even a cute idea in the first place (literally infantilizing/fetishizing their strippers?), what made it even worse was that the image had a date stamp of September 1998. Which makes her currently….15 years old. Not only did this just get kind of weird, it got kind of illegal, right? Major creep factor here, and when a concerned Internet citizen took a screenshot, the company hadn’t even responded. Next time, check that you”re not accidentally ratting yourself out as a purveyor of scantily clad children, Spearmint Rhino! Hope they learned their lesson.
3. Papa John’s Takes Lazy ‘Giving” to Another Level
I’m quite sure, however, that my strategy to take some of the pressure off would not include the tweet above! ‘Hit the hay‘? The tweet seems innocent enough, but came right in the middle of the food product crisis. All I’m thinking is, what were they thinking? Maybe it was pun-intentional (see what I did there?!) Obviously someone on their team needed a refresher on tasteful tweeting! And, for our number one offender, drum-roll please…
1. Amy’s Baking Company Freaks Out All Over the Internet
Amy’s Baking Company is a small boutique restaurant in Scottsdale, Arizona. They”re not a chain, not franchised, and not run by a famous Executive Chef; but you”d have to be living under a rock this year to not have heard of them! They were thrust into the national spotlight when their restaurant was featured on Gordon Ramsey’s Kitchen Nightmares, where the chef helps small, struggling restaurants turn it around and become profitable again. Only this time, his plan to help totally backfired. Chef Ramsey, and the viewers, watched in horror as the owners mistreated their employees, stole waiter’s tips, and verbally abused customers. Oh, and then they claimed they were hacked. It’s a wonder how they still have business, but now some foodies visit just to say they survived. I would go out on a limb and say that this was the biggest company social media meltdown in Internet history. Other companies should probably bookmark ABC’s sites for training purposes: what not to do when trying to engage customers and generate sales.Last we heard, they were getting their own reality show…here we go again! So there you have it: some of the most scandalous or mismanaged social media fails of 2013. But don’t worry…we have four more months of 2013 to observe any other juicy corporate mishaps that will surely befall another unsuspecting company. Any moments we missed? Share them below!