How to mess up your social media – Part 2 Bad Taste

How to Mess up your Social Media – Part 2

Following on from last weeks introduction to “How to mess up your Social Media – Don’t train your staff” we move nicely on to the second way you can mess up your social media efforts. This is something I am seeing more on accounts as account managers and business owners cross and blur the boundaries between the business broadcasts and the “we’re a person speak to us” broadcasts.

So What is mess up number two – “Bad Taste”

The definition of Bad Taste is poor judgment, esp. as to what is appropriate, fashionable, pleasing, etc. And that is exactly what some accounts unfortutately have doing! I will share two international examples of bad taste with the intention of sparking the consideration before you purhaps share that bad joke or that riske comment.

Example 1


In March 2012 KitchenAid’s official account tweeted out “Obamas gma (grandma) even knew it was going 2 (to) b (be) bad! She died 3 days b4 (before) he became president”  to their 24,000 followers.

This was in reference to Obama mentioning his grandmother during his presidential debate in March 2012. She died on 2 Nov 2008 just before Obama was elected president.

The tweet was instantly removed but was already retweeted around the world and the backlash from followers and others in the Twitter community had already started.

Example 2KennethCole

The example to the right sparked outrage in February 2011 during violent protests in Cairo. Kenneth Cole, American footwear favourites, used the trending topics #Cairo to promote his new spring collection and get some extra publicity. The publicity it did bring was not what the brand would have wished for with twitter followers feeling Kenneth himself (the tweet was signed off KC implying it was from him and not his publicity team) were making light of the situation and many vowing never to buy their shoes again.The example to the right sparked outrage in February 2011 during the uproar in Cairo

So what can you do to ensure this social media mess up doesn’t happen to you:

  • Think about each message and consider what the impact could be.
  • Think about humour and the impact your slightly quirky humour could have on others on the receiving end – are you happy with this possible miscommunication?
  • Own up – if something is in bad taste and some how gets missed do your business and brand a favour and apologise, own up and discuss the lesson’s learned

As with Part 1 I hope that’s useful and please feel free to leave your comments below …. As always if you need a hand with your social media, or want to chat through your current your staff training arrangements get in touch with me Karen, on 07730525349