Twitter is a great platform for companies to reach their audience. Some companies have even moved beyond just talking about products on social media platforms. For example, Taco Bell has a great presence on Twitter because it responds to fans and notices trending topics. Some companies are not as clever as the major fast food brand. DiGiorno Pizza and Epicurious have made the mistake of tweeting about sensitive situations and the backlash was inevitable.
DiGiorno and #WhyIStayed
After the video of Ray Rice punching his then fiancé in an elevator was released, people took to Twitter to express why they stayed with or left their significant other after they were abused. The hashtag #WhyIStayed and #WhyILeft became an outlet for people everywhere. DiGiorno picked up on this trending topic and tweeted the following:
Soon, DiGiorno realized its mistake and deleted the tweet. The pizza company took to Twitter again to apologize.
DiGiorno may have made a poor decision by not checking the meaning behind the hashtag #WhyIStayed, but it recovered by responding to dozens of Twitter users and personally apologizing.
The usually snappy and witty writers behind the DiGiorno Pizza Twitter account were able to get serious and recover by not burying their heads in the ground and waiting for it to blow over. They took action and responsibility for a poor tweet and it was a good recovery, even for not being delivery.
Epicurious and the Boston Bombings
On April 15, 2013, the city of Boston and the United Sates were shaken by bombings at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. Many companies took to Twitter to express thoughts, support and condolences. Some companies, like Epicurious, used the bombings as a way to push their product.
There was no surprise when the backlash on Twitter sent the company into recovery mode and the tweets were deleted. An apology tweet owning up to the insensitivity was immediately posted.
The weirdest part about all of this was the fact that the below tweet was sent out that morning before any of this had happened.
The above tweet is sincere and supportive, but how do you explain the next two tweets with obvious product placement during a horrific time in this country’s history? Epicurious simply decided to go underground and avoid Twitter for the next couple of days. Avoiding social media is no way to recover from callous handling of sensitive situations. After avoiding its problems, Epicurious then took to Twitter to copy-and-paste apologies to Twitter users – also not a good idea.
The copy-and-paste route is not effective. It comes off as insincere and looks like an easy fix to a situation that is going to take more than just pressing command C. The personal apology tweets were deleted and all that remains is the original tweet. This was a rough recovery for the food company, but it is not alone. For some reason, tragedy cannot occur without a social media fail by a company.
- Read the hashtag before you use it.
- Do not use product placement when trying to be sincere.
- Personally apologize and reach out to Twitter users.
- Avoid copy-and-paste techniques.
- Do not disappear after making a mistake.