While social media can be a godsend for some with the whole word-of-mouth and sharing business dooflicky, some brands have found the immediacy of the platform somewhat unfortunate.
“Assuming that your followers will behave in a desired or predictable way is very unwise,” Sabrina Antoniou, group account director at We Are Social, said.
“The reality is there are many factors that contribute to the notorious hashtag and Twitter fails we see plastered across the industry press. The examples we’ve put forward are uniquely unfortunate and it’s hard to say which is worse.
Music artist Robin Thicke was recently in the thick of social media mishaps. According to The Huffington Post, Thicke was asked to take part in a Q&A on Twitter. Fans could Tweet questions to the music artist using the hashtag #AskThicke. However the questions may not have been what the artist was hoping for…
It appears both the guys over at Thinktank Social and We Are Social are in agreement over the cock up of the #McDStories hashtag that Maccas used.
“McDonald’s launched this hashtag in 2012 to generate positive user generated sentiment and tweets about McDonalds,” Sam Snowden, account director at Thinktank Social, said.
“The hashtag implementation had the reverse effect and 140 characters of brand advocacy, became a social vehicle for consumers to sink the ‘golden arches’ brand sentiment on Twitter.”
Amaury Treguer, strategist over at We Are Social, also thought that instead of the hashtag sharing positive stories, it trended with negative ones, obesity and hygiene.
3. “Give us a retweet or children will go hungry”
Another strategist at We Are Social, Luke Ryan, thought Kelloggs in the UK committed a pretty big social media gaffe with its ‘give us a retweet or children will go hungry’ campaign in November 2013.
“Basically what this says to the consumer at the end of the day is we are going to hold food hostage from the hungry kids that need it until you help promote our cause,” Ryan said.
“If you are a company and want positive word of mouth around charitable actions (or social good) then just perform the task without asking for something in return. Consumers will respond to the authenticity of the act and you brands sentiment will be elevated as a by-product.”
But Cluedont said it best.
Another fail that got a notable mention from Snowden at Thinktank Social was BlackBerry’s #RIMJobs. The RIM stands for Research in Motion, not what you’re thinking, get your minds out of the gutter.
However upon searching for some examples on Twitter, #RIMJobs turned up some not-quite-work-appropriate results.
“Unfortunately this overly literal hashtag gave BlackBerry instantaneous brand social slander,” Snowden said.
The death of Margaret Thatcher also had some Cher fans distraught the same day with the hashtag that was being passed around social media, #Nowthatchersdead.
Over in the US, Burger King was keen to promote its new healthier menu using the acronym ‘What The French Fry’ – what could go wrong with shortening it to #WTFF?
“Unfortunately the hashtag was already an existing Internet slang reference for ‘What The Fucking Fuck’,” Snowden said. Guess Burger King fucked up.
And who could forget Susan Boyle’s album launch party? Suz Koch, account director at We Are Social, certainly can’t.
Susan Boyle image via ABC.
What are your favourite Twitter hashtag fails?
Lead image by B&T’s head of creative and photography, Elliott Hind.