Although social media is an essential tool in your marketing strategy, it can actually have rather adverse effects when used incorrectly.
From offending your fan base to completely missing the point, disasters are always possible when you fail to think things through.
Here are five terrible examples of social media PR, and how you can avoid making the same mistakes yourself.
That's right – even Twitter themselves aren't immune to social media blunders. Back in 2014, the Chief Financial Officer of Twitter, Anthony Noto intended to send a direct message to a colleague, discussing the potential plans for Twitter to acquire the Shots mobile app.
Instead, he published the message as a tweet. Although it was swiftly deleted, Twitter's secret was out.
2. DiGiorno Pizza
The #WhyIStayed movement was an important and serious hashtag in Twitter's history, leading victims of domestic violence to speak out about why they stayed in their dangerous relationships.
So it came across as highly insensitive when DiGiorno Pizza tweeted '#WhyIStayed You had pizza.'
After deleting the tweet, the company apologised – claiming they had not considered the meaning of the tag before using it.
3. American Apparel
Fireworks are commonly used to celebrate the 4th of July in the USA. Space shuttle explosions? Not so much!
American Apparel posted a photo of the Challenger explosion on July 4th, a tragedy that killed everyone on board back in 1986.
The brand apologised, explaining that the person responsible did not know what the photo was of.
Smucker's spread and syrup company faced backlash when they found themselves under fire for their labelling policy regarding genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
Many angry consumers posted complaints to the company's Facebook page, only to find Smucker's was removing negative feedback!
The fact they had tried to silence consumers rather than face criticism simply made the situation worse.
5. US Airways
Perhaps one of the most publicised social media fails of all time – US Airways had a lot to answer for when they tweeted a 'not safe for work' photo to a customer!
The customer had tweeted the brand to express concern at their delayed flight and a lack of response. US Airways responded to say they welcome feedback; however, it was the attached photo that caused a stir – a pornographic photo of a woman and a model plane.
The tweet was up for a whole hour before being deleted, with staff saying they were investigating what happened.
Supposedly, the image had been tweeted to the brand earlier that day, but that doesn't explain how it found its way into their own tweets!
What can we learn from these mistakes?
To sum up, here are some key points to consider before clicking the 'publish' button:
Have you ever been part of a social media fail? Don't be embarrassed, tell us what went down in the comments section below!