TechStarters Logo
Blog Home

PR Nightmares: How NOT to Use Social Media

Managing your social media doesn’t have to be a PR nightmare

Many people have joked that if there was a ‘dislike’ button on Facebook, they’d use it. When a company makes the awful mistake of saying the wrong thing to a client on social media, it doesn’t take too long for people to catch it, share it and bring the full wrath of consumers upon the company in question. Don’t believe it? Take a look at these major PR snafus, and you’ll see what we mean.

Oops…Wrong Account Wal-Mart!

Wal-Mart PR fail

One social media expert forgot that they weren’t using their private account when updating the Wal-Mart page. Generally speaking, it’s not a good idea to use profanity. This mistake ended up showing Wal-Mart’s marketing campaign as being as graceful as a bowling ball trying to swim. Luckily, it was quickly deleted.

Amy’s Bakery Showed They’re Nuttier Than Fruitcakes On Facebook

Few companies can say they had a total meltdown on Facebook in the way that Amy’s Bakery can. Owner Amy Bouzgalo was known for making some seriously messed up comments on Facebook. The anger of patrons quickly egged her on to get even more aggressive. Her husband still continues to threaten to sue people who place complaints on the Facebook page.

amy's bakery pr fail

A word from the wise to these two: If you’re gonna be that terrible to your clients online, just don’t do anything related to social media.

Smucker’s Forgot The Difference Between Questions And Spam

With the onslaught of people who are getting worried about GMO ingredients in their daily food intake, it’s no surprise that bigger companies are being hit with questions about the quality of their ingredients. Typically, companies realize that the best policy is honesty or just replying to customers with an answer that is, at the very least, polite but firm about company policies. After all, people like to be acknowledged.

smuckers pr fail

Unless, of course, you’re the PR manager of Smucker’s. In this case, you will be cavalier with the use of the report spam button so that those questions keep getting removed. They claimed it was a politically charged comment, and therefore had to be removed. Customers began to complain even more about not even being acknowledged. Smucker’s ended up with news groups noting their deletion of comments, and they ended up with a total PR disaster.

The moral of the story, folks, is that you should never delete comments. Instead, reply to them!

Epicurious Learned That Timing Is Everything

epicurious pr fail

When a national tragedy has emerged, it’s common enough for companies to send out a message in remembrance of those who died. When the Boston Marathon bombing happened, Epicurious sent out messages saying that people should comfort themselves with a new recipe for scones. People didn’t like the fact that the messages seemed to make light of the situation.

To their credit, Epicurious quickly issued an apology that helped curb the backlash.

What You Can Learn From These PR Failures

Any form of social media means that you need to approach things with tact – just as you would in real life. If you’re not professional and friendly online, you will learn how messy a poorly done Facebook campaign can be.