Corporate Twitter fails

Posted by Rashed Khan on April 5th, 2013 at 9:02 am

Corporate Twitter fails

Social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter have become all the rage with millions of people joining them. With so many people using social media sites, businesses have quickly caught on to the fact that they can use these sites as a free medium to market their products. In addition to this, Google has mentioned that it looks at social media signals to help it rank websites which means that there is little excuse for a major company not to be promoting its products or services on at least one social media site. However, this has created many overnight, self-proclaimed social media gurus giving bad advice and has also resulted in major businesses posting embarrassing messages which have adversely affected their brand image. Here are some Twitter fails that businesses made:


Social media marketing is often thought of as a trivial aspect of marketing and therefore responsibility of running it is often given to junior staff. If you’re going to give responsibility of a part of your online marketing campaign to a junior member of staff then you need to make  sure you monitor it every now and then as HMV recently found out. HMV has fallen n tough times and has recently had to make some of its staff redundant . As you’d expect, the employees being made redundant didn’t appreciate this and those who had access to the company’s Twitter account and voiced their anger about being made redundant.

The mainstream media quickly picked up on the tweets and spread the tweets across the Internet before HMV could get the chance to delete it.

What have we learnt: If you’re going to allow junior staff to talk about your brand on social media sites then make sure to keep them happy and make sure you change the password if you make them redundant!


Here’s a shocking tweet from the online ticket exchange company StubHub. The person who tweeted this tweet was clearly not having a good and although the tweet was deleted in less than an hour, it was enough time for a screenshot to be taken and for the tweet to be spread all over the Internet. Since the tweet was posted, StubHub have apologised for the tweet whcih is to be expected but outbreaks like this can be very damaging to a company’s image.

What have we learnt: Yes, social media is a place to get your message across in an informal way but companies still need to remain professional.


Waitrose though they were onto something when they decided to create their hashtag allowing Tweeter uses to say what they liked about shopping at Waitrose while adding the #waiteroseReasons hashtag. This didn’t go quite as well as they’d have hoped as a number of people started posting negative comments using the #waiteroseReasons hashtag. Here’s a few from the mountains of humorous tweets that were posted.

I shop at Waitrose because it makes me feel important and I absolutely detest being surrounded by poor people #waitrosereasons

I shop at #waitrose because I WILL NOT stand next to the scum bags at Marks and Spencer. #waitrosereasons

I shop at Waitrose so people know I’m filthy rich and therefore automatically better than they are #WaitroseReasons

What have we learnt: Don’t ask for an opinion on an informal medium such as social media and then expect everyone to give a positive reply.


Here’s another example of a marketing campaign involving users unexpectedly reacting negatively to a hashtag campaign. McDonalds created a hashtag called #McDstories where they would post positive tweets on its customer’s experiences whilst at McDonalds. However, Twitter users soon took it upon themselves to post negative tweets about their experience at McDonalds such as finding unexpected items in their food, hygiene complaints and claiming that staff were rude to them. There were also a lot of tweets about McDonald’s aggressive marketing campaign linking it to the growing concern of obesity in young people. Even today, after a year since the initial #McDstories tweet firsdt made its appearance you can find people talking about the marketing fail.

What have we learnt: People are more prone to post negative opinions rather than positive ones

BIO: Rashed has his own business on eBay and has been working in online marketing for over 2 years. These corporate Twitter fails have been written on behalf of eSeller Media. eSeller have free resources for online businesses.

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