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Oops Faux Pas

Social media not only plays a significant role in the personal lives of people across the globe, it also is a vital part of the business world. With nearly 2 billion active social media users in the world, it’s clear that a high percentage of the world’s consumers are surfing sites like Facebook, Twitter, WeChat and Instagram. This is crucial to note for everyone from brands and celebrities to politicians and governments. A good way to learn how to more effectively promote your business on social media is to look at the biggest blunders that have been made, then avoid making such mistakes. Here are some of the most shocking — and amusing — from 2015.

SeaWorld’s Decision to Have a Twitter Chat

dolphinSure, SeaWorld is a highly successful theme park, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t without opposition, especially from animal rights groups. When it decided to hold an #AskSeaWorld chat on Twitter, all the negativity towards its company showed, as the company’s account was peppered with loads of questions and criticisms about the treatment of marine life. SeaWorld hoped such a conversation would bring about more respect for the brand, but all it did was highlight its controversies.

Bud Light’s #Upforwhatever Controversy

Alcohol brands have to be careful how they advertise; it’s part of the reality of being a company that sells alcohol. The beer giant’s #Upforwhatever campaign was not a hit at all, since the brand said you should erase “no” from your vocabulary for the night. That didn’t fly over too well with people, as groups focused on preventing sexual assaults took particular offense.

The Houston Rockets Shooting a Horse

houstonBefore a game featuring the NBA’s Houston Rockets and Dallas Mavericks, the Rockets’ Twitter account sent a post out with an emoji showing a gun to a horse’s head (a symbol of Dallas’s team). To state it simply, this did not go over too well with many folks in Dallas and across the NBA, and the Rockets organization had to issue an apology right after posting. In short, respect your competition; it makes you look better.

IHOP’s “Flat But Has a Great Personality” Stunt

If you’re just talking about pancakes, which IHOP was honestly doing, such a post is fine. The problem is that, on social media, folks are going to find many ways to interpret a post, especially when it comes to a well-known company. So while this was amusing to some, it attracted lots of negative attention because it was seen as insensitive to women. Being funny and immature can be a good thing for brands, but knowing where to draw the line is important.

Sources

New global social media research

Top 10 social media misfires of 2015

Top 5 worst social media brand blunders of 2015

The 10 most cringeworthy social fails of 2015

The 5 Worst PR Blunders of 2015

2015 The year in social media disasters

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