Social Media Horror Stories - "What can go wrong?"


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Learn from spine-chilling tales of the social media slips that sent some of the world's biggest brands into reputation tail spins.

- Mistakes major brands made while using social media.
- What we can learn from their mistakes.
- That social media abstinence is not enough.
- What process, procedures and education every business should invest in.

Published in: Technology
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Social Media Horror Stories - "What can go wrong?"

  1. 1. Social media horror stories… and what we can learn Presented by: Wendy Schollum March 2011
  2. 2. Whose company uses social media as part oftheir marketing?
  3. 3. Who thinks they shouldn’t use social mediabecause of online brand attacks?
  4. 4. Where ever you can amplify a message someone will inevitably accidentally amplify the…
  5. 5. In the past, this may have been…
  6. 6. Now, we have social media...
  7. 7. An estimated two thirds of the global populationuse social media…
  8. 8. Today, we’re going to discuss: • Real world social media crisis’. • How big brands reacted. • What the fallout was. • What we can learn from their mistakes.
  9. 9. Common causes of social media disasters… • Lack of representation online. • Accidental opinion. • Insensitive statement or action. • Trying to censor opinions online.
  10. 10. Are you AWOL online?
  11. 11. The danger of a lack of representation online • Not having a social media presence will not protect your brand. • There is less than a 1% chance that your business won’t be mentioned online in the next 18 months*. • Two thirds of the global population use social media. • People talk about business and brand experiences online every day.
  12. 12. Online conversations, about your company, are taking place online every day… Whether you realise it, or not…
  13. 13. You need to be participating in the online conversation, to… • Monitor what’s being said about your brand. • Identify and manage potential threats. …if you don’t control your brand online, someone else will. • Demonstrate a long history of professionalism and positive consumer interactions. • Develop a loyal following of brand advocates …your first defense against negative online press.
  14. 14. Social media crisis management, lesson one… • Get involved. • Build an online community of brand advocates. • Monitor what’s being said about you online.
  15. 15. Common causes of social media disasters… • Lack of representation online. • Accidental opinion.
  16. 16. Chrysler Automotives social media crisis… … an accidental tweet saw Chrysler drop the “f-bomb”.
  17. 17. Social media users were outraged…
  18. 18. 3 hours later Chrysler posted an apology… … citing hacking as the reason for the offensive tweet.
  19. 19. This lie created a crisis within a crisis… … as mainstream media picked up the story.
  20. 20. What can we learn? • Know your social media software. • Be mindful of your digital footprint. • Never lie to your audience. It’s ok to make mistakes. It’s not ok to lie online.
  21. 21. Common causes of social media disasters… • Lack of representation online. • Accidental opinion. • Insensitive statement or action.
  22. 22. The Kenneth Cole insensitivity crisis…
  23. 23. Cole hijacked the #Cairo hash tag……that was being used globally to monitor updates from Egypt.
  24. 24. He took 2 hours to respond to complaints… …and didn’t actually apologise - despite global outrage.
  25. 25. Cole took 5 hours to delete the initial tweet……and post an apology. By this stage, the tweet had gone viral.
  26. 26. Bloggers and news sites picked up the story…… a mock Twitter profile was even setup comparing Cole to BP
  27. 27. Within hours, the debate hit Facebook… …exposing Cole’s insensitive promotion to thousands more users.
  28. 28. What can we learn? • Never base your online advertising schemes on high tension or unstable events. • Never hijack hash tags on Twitter. • In a “sensitivity crisis” be one of the first to admit your mistake and make sure you apologise. • Don’t try to hide from a crisis. • Don’t try to fight popular opinion. On social media, the user is always right.
  29. 29. Common causes of social media disasters… • Lack of representation online. • Accidental opinion. • Insensitive statement or action. • Trying to censor opinions online.
  30. 30. Nestle’s social media crisis… …started with an online argument with Greenpeace.
  31. 31. A bloody Nestle product commercial parody … …exposed Nestle’s use of palm oil in their products.
  32. 32. Nestle took action to have the video banned… …accidentally declaring war on online freedom of speech.
  33. 33. Greenpeace re-released the video… …along with an online and offline anti-Nestle campaign.
  34. 34. The Nestle Facebook page was hijacked……with comments from consumers, demanding they stop using palm oil.
  35. 35. Nestle started responding to users……but only to demand users adhere to unreasonable rules, on their page.
  36. 36. Nestle started publically fighting with users… …which only further encouraged protesters to attack their page.
  37. 37. What did Nestle do wrong? • They petitioned to get the Greenpeace YouTube video (with only 1,000 views) banned. This only drew attention to it – resulting in over 1.5 million views (just 2 months after the video was banned). • They ignored consumer opinion and deleted Facebook comments they didn’t like. • They went silent when things got really bad – leaving Greenpeace with all the press coverage.
  38. 38. A social media crisis with a happy ending… …started with an accidental tweet.
  39. 39. A pro binge drinking tweet was up for an hour… …before the Red Cross Director of social media was woken (at 1am).
  40. 40. A humorous response to concerns was posted… …which immediately defused the situation and reassured users.
  41. 41. After discovering the Red Cross “slip”… …Dogfish encouraged their followers to donate to the Red Cross.
  42. 42. Users were also motivated by beer stockists……who offered a free pint of beer if they donated a blood pint (to ARC)
  43. 43. The Red Cross embraced the online chatter… …by setting up a web page dedicated to Dogfish drinker donations
  44. 44. This is how to handle a crisis well……speed, honesty and “humanising” the brand saved the Red Cross.
  45. 45. The common theme… • Participation in social media is mandatory. • Education is imperative. • Having a social media crisis plan is essential. • Respect is the key.
  46. 46. Want to know more? • Call: +64 (0)6 834 2482. • Email: • Visit: • Follow: • Like: