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IP Quick Intellect

Top three social media incidents for 2015

Posted by on 17 Dec 2015

As the year draws to a close and we reflect on the year that was, we thought it would be timely to revisit our top three social media incidents over the past 12 months and the lessons learnt from each of these experiences. 

1. Turn negative feedback into positive PR!

My personal favourite was Woolworth’s response to a disgruntled customer complaint over his “not-so-fresh” avocados. The customer uploaded the following image on Facebook attracting  close to 35,000 likes and approximately 2,500 shares.


Woolworths’ response (below) was quick, conversational and witty:

Woolworths’ social media team successfully diverted customers’ attention away from the damaged goods and instead focussed on their prompt resolution to the incident. Applauding their efforts, other online users responded to the post in favour of Woolworths by way of uploading memes.


Lesson: Whilst negative social media posts have the potential to damage your brand, incidents like the above offer an opportunity to reconnect with your online following. In the event of a social media crisis, it is important to construct a response that is both appropriate to your audience and made in a timely manner.

2. Why the customer is not always right on social media

Gelato Messina’s response to a customer service complaint on social media was another personal favourite. While customers are free to air their complaints on social media, companies don’t need to tolerate racist, sexist or discriminatory comments, or personal attacks on their staff. Gelato Messina’s response to a racist and offensive review was as follows: 


Well done Gelato Messina. It was refreshing to see an organisation not only respect their staff but also defend their brand.

Lesson: Be brave – the customer is not always right. In some incidents, such as the above, an inappropriate remark warrants an assertive response. However, be careful, not to add fuel to the fire. 

3. Fool me twice – shame on me!!!!

My favourite #socialmediafail this year goes to Donald Trump. Who could forget Donald’s embarrassing retweets of serial killers Fred and Rose West. If that was not humiliating enough, Donald repeated his mistake by retweeting an image of convicted murderer, Jeffrey McDonald.

The twittersphere was filled with new tweets (such as the one below) further humiliating Donald:

Lesson: When retweeting images do your research, avoid uncertainty, consider the potential liability to your business and most importantly, learn from your mistakes!!

As we head into the silly season, please keep these lessons in mind to avoid your own personal #socialmediafail.

I wish you all the best for 2016 and look forward sharing many more #socialmediafails and #socialmediawins next year. 

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