Triumphs and Train Wrecks: Brands that Successfully Recovered—and Didn’t—From Social Media Fails

In uberVU’s latest e-book we cover common types of social media fails and detail how to prevent them from happening to your brand. Each of the examples we present provide for some entertainment—because after all, fails can be pretty funny—but they also have a lesson to teach. And the lesson doesn’t stop with the fail. What can be even more damaging than a social fail is a poor response. Some brands have made excellent recoveries after fails. Others, well….haven’t.

Successful Recovery

Entenmanns

The baked goods brand played the lazy game and chose to blindly piggyback on a trending topic. The brand caught some major backlash as the #notguilty hashtag was about the Casey Anthony murder trial verdict—not donuts. Entenmanns recovered nicely by being quick to apologize and by being honest about its mistake.

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American Red Cross

The American Red Cross fell victim to human error with an employee accidentally tweeted a personal tweet from the brand’s account. The brand recognized the problem with a humorous response that played off the original tweet’s content. The American Red Cross also talked about the mishap open and honestly, even addressing it on its official blog.

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Bonus social media points go to Dogfish Brewery who helped turn the fail into a win for the American Red Cross. After noticing its brand name in the original tweet—and the hundreds of tweets that poured in after—the beer brand made an effort to encourage people who were having fun with the blunder to donate to the charity. Helping out a fellow brand for a good cause—now that’s great social!

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Failed Once Again

Chrysler

Similar to the American Red Cross, the car manufacturer found itself a victim of human error. But unlike the charity, Chrysler was quick to issue a cover up rather than the truth. The brand claimed its Twitter account was hacked, but under heavy fire from the social web it finally admitted the tweet was accident. Turns out an employee of the social media agency New Media Strategies, who handled Chrysler’s account, accidentally tweeted from the brand’s account rather than from his or her personal handle. The car brand announced the employee had been fired but made no apologies for its initial lie.

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Celeb Boutique

Celeb Boutique suffered its own piggy-backfire when it used the trending #Aurora hashtag to promote a dress. The fact that the hashtag was about a mass shooting elevated this mistake to an epic fail. What further added to this disaster was the brand’s flippant apology. Instead of just acknowledging that it made a mistake, the brand attempted to defend itself by claiming it shouldn’t be expected to know the meaning of the hashtag because it is not based in the U.S.

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Belvedere Vodka

Belvedere Vodka proved poor taste isn’t funny when it posted an image on its Facebook and Twitter accounts that appeared to be making light of sexual assault. Rather than express regret for the offensive content the brand only apologized to those who found it distasteful (i.e. we’re sorry you’re so sensitive).

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The lesson learned from all of these apologies—or lack thereof—is that honesty goes a long way in social media. There is great responsibility in representing your brand online. So while you should do everything you can to prevent social media fails, you should also put just as much thought and energy into recovering from them. Mistakes happen. It’s your reaction to them that matters most.

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