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Lessons Learned from Social Media SNAFUs


Lessons Learned from Social Media Snafus

If you’ve checked Twitter in the past 24 hours, you probably know about AT&T’s inappropriate tweet about 9/11 that caused a major uproar yesterday:

att twitter

AT&T quickly took the tweet down and apologized, but it was too late. Many felt that the company was using a national tragedy to promote their product and consumers were understandably offended. This is just the most recent social media blunder committed by a major brand, so we don’t mean to pick on AT&T – plenty of others are guilty of making social media snafus. Here are just a few lessons we can learn from past Twitter gaffes:

  • The first can be learned from AT&T and many others: don’t use a tragedy to promote your product. Many others are guilty of doing this, such as Gap during Hurricane Sandy and Kenneth Cole during protests in Egypt. If you think something could offend any members of your audience, it’s best to err on the side of caution and NOT tweet it.



  • KEEP UP WITH THE NEWS! As a PR/social media professional, this should be a given. This tweet by Celeb Boutique, posted after the mass shooting during a midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises in Aurora, CO, is still cringe-worthy. Not only is it inappropriate, but it makes the company look incredibly ignorant.


  • If you run a brand’s Twitter and also have a Twitter of your own, make sure you’re tweeting from the correct account. Again, this seems obvious, but multi-tasking is a part of working in PR and everyone has their moments of carelessness. A member of KitchenAid’s Twitter team had a “moment of carelessness” when this tweet was sent from the KitchenAid account during one of the 2012 presidential debates:


Clearly, this was meant to be sent from the employee’s personal Twitter, but he or she didn’t double check before posting. KitchenAid explained the situation and apologized profusely, so it didn’t exactly cause uproar, but the employee was immediately fired.

  • Think about the context of your tweets. Dr. Phil was forced to delete this shortly after posting:


He most likely tweeted the question to begin a dialogue among his followers, but it offended a lot of people, and let’s face it – it kind of comes across as creepy.

-Team Brent

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