Beware The Tweet — or You May Face an Unintended Tweetstorm

Tweets can be a great way to reach a large audience quickly. But tweets may have unexpected and unintended consequences. Here are some social media blunders from the last few years that had companies in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons.

Kit Kat

Days before the Super Bowl, Kit Kat sent out a tweet about its best friend, New England Patriots tight end Martellus Bennett, along with a Kit Kat jersey:

Unfortunately, for Kit Kat, the jersey was missing one of the “t”s. The twitterverse erupted with comments about misspelling a “best” friend’s name. Kit Kat apologized and attempted to make light of the mistake, tweeting “we will give you back that T when you get the W.”

Cinnabon

Cinnabon attempted to remember the great Carrie Fisher shortly after her death:

Consumers did not appreciate the humor, complaining that the company was using a “tribute” as nothing more than an advertisement. Cinnabon stated that the tweet was “genuinely meant as a tribute” and apologized.

Twitter

Even Twitter makes mistakes with its account. Twitter’s CFO, Anthony Noto, mistakenly posted what was supposed to be a private message:

Although the tweet was deleted, some 8700 followers used screengrab to memorialize the errant tweet. Twittter declined to comment.

Delta Airlines

After a Word Cup match between the U.S. and Ghana, Delta tweeted:

Unfortunately for Delta, giraffes don’t live in Ghana. After a Twitter uproar, Delta deleted the tweet and issued an apology. Alas, even the apology had not been vetted before going public:

HMV

The British company HMV forgot to place controls on its social media. During a mass layoff of numerous employees, the employees began to live tweet the firings on HMV’s twitter account:

For twenty minutes, these tweets went to the 61,500 followers of the British entertainment retail store.

Practical Tips

It should go without saying that fact- and spell-checking are critical before any official company tweet goes live. As recent tweets from politicians have reminded us, it is a simple task to point out errors within seconds of a tweet being posted. Taking a few moments on the front end can save a company from going viral for the wrong reasons.

Make sure that company policy delineates who within the company can post tweets and the approval process. It is a good idea to limit the people with account information, so that angry employees cannot post on behalf of the company. Any policy should also include when it is appropriate to use Twitter to send private information, which can prevent the accidental release of information that is not intended for the public.

Sources:
 https://fan-insider.com/kit-kat-makes-embarrassing-super-bowl-jersey-mistake-with-this-social-media-blunder/
 
http://www.pcmag.com/slideshow/story/335422/17-massive-corporate-social-media-fails/
 
https://www.cbinsights.com/blog/corporate-social-media-fails/
 
http://money.cnn.com/2016/12/28/news/companies/cinnabon-carrie-fisher-apology/
 
http://www.cnbc.com/2014/11/24/oops-twitters-cfo-misfires-with-a-private-tweet.html
 
https://www.forbes.com/sites/jaysondemers/2016/05/02/the-7-worst-and-most-amusing-mistakes-brands-have-ever-made-on-social-media/#25595ef66a5c
 
http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/soccer/delta-tweet-portrays-ghana-pic-giraffe-don-live-country-article-1.1832251
 
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/were-all-being-fired-exciting-hmv-staff-take-to-official-twitter-account-to-liveblog-their-own-mass-8475491.html

For more information on this topic, please visit our Social Media Law service page, which is part of our Internet & eCommerce Practice.

Klemchuk LLP is an Intellectual Property (IP), Technology, Internet, and Business law firm located in Dallas, TX. The firm offers comprehensive legal services including litigation and enforcement of all forms of IP as well as registration and licensing of patents, trademarks, trade dress, and copyrights. The firm also provides a wide range of technology, Internet, e-commerce, and business services including business planning, formation, and financing, mergers and acquisitions, business litigation, data privacy, and domain name dispute resolution. Additional information about the Internet & eCommerce law firm and its Internet & eCommerce attorneys may be found at www.klemchuk.com.

Klemchuk LLP hosts Culture Counts, a blog devoted to the discussion of law firm culture and corporate core values with frequent topics about positive work environment, conscious capitalism, entrepreneurial management, positive workplace culture, workplace productivity, and corporate core values.

Pin it for later: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/315252042652910981/

Also published on Medium.


Originally published at www.klemchuk.com on March 16, 2017.