Earlier this year, the CFO for Francesca’s Holdings, a retail clothing company, tweeted, “Board meeting.Good numbers=Happy Board,” and in doing so violated SEC regulations regarding fair disclosure. He was fired on the next business day.
In March of 2011, a social media representative at New Media Strategies, a social media marketing agency, who was handling Chrysler’s Twitter account accidentally posted a tweet to @ChryslerAutos that was actually meant for his own, personal account. The tweet read, “I find it ironic that Detroit is known as the #motorcity and yet no one here knows how to [expletive deleted] drive.” The representative was fired from New Media Strategies, NMS was taken off the Chrysler account, and Chrysler found itself scrambling to engage in damage control.
And in July of this year, Celeb Boutique, a fashion company, saw that #Aurora was trending on Twitter and decided to take advantage of the trend by tweeting, “#Aurora is trending, clearly about our Kim K inspired #Aurora dress ;)” with a link to the company’s online store. What they didn’t realize, of course, is that the reason #Aurora was trending was because of the tragic incident that occurred at the Aurora Century movie theater during the midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises. Understandably, the backlash was instantaneous and extremely damaging.
These are just a few examples of companies and representatives that have suffered the potential pitfalls of social media. They are by no means alone. In the past few years, we’ve seen similar stories from American Red Cross, McDonald’s, former Representative Anthony Weiner, Gilbert Gottfried, and many, many more. Social media snafus happen every day. They’re usually embarrassing, and although they sometimes go by unnoticed, they can also be incredibly damaging, to corporate brands and personal careers alike.
There’s just no way around it; social media can be scary.