Some of a company’s most embarrassing moments can be traced back to a social media faux pas. Whether it was an errant tweet sent from the wrong account or an honest, yet thoughtless mistake, social media can be the vehicle for wrecking a company’s image. Social media can also be the tool by which that image is restored.
In 2017, athletic shoe company Adidas tried to send a heartfelt congratulations to everyone who finished the Boston Marathon. But instead of calling them ‘finishers,’ Adidas called them ‘survivors,’ which came off as tone-deaf after the 2013 marathon bombing that killed five people, and injured more than 260 others. Adidas immediately took to Twitter to apologize, and its customers were quick to forgive.
Another instance in which social media was used to put out a corporate fire also came in 2017. Shea Moisture, a hair care company catering mostly to women of color, decided to expand its clientele with a new ad campaign featuring different types of hair. Except that Shea failed to acknowledge its initial customer base by leaving out images of black women, or women of color. The backlash was immediate, and Shea Moisture issued this blunt apology via Twitter, admitting that it, “f-ed up.”