Social Media Wins vs Fails for 2017
Jess Grant Jess Grant
Social Media Marketing
December 5,2017

Social Media Wins vs Fails for 2017

Social media remains a minefield for corporations. A unique tone of voice can work wonders for brand awareness, but all it takes is one tone-deaf tweet for a carefully curated online identity to crash and burn.

Some brands are better than others when it comes to engaging with online followers. See which brands have mastered the art of social media and those that still have a lot to learn as we look at some of the standout social media wins and fails for 2017.

Fail: The U.S. Department of Education

We all make spelling mistakes sometimes, but you’d think the U.S. Department of Education would have high standards when it comes to spotting typos. Apparently not, as they misspelt the name of late civil rights activist and NAACP co-founder W.E.B. Du Bois – or as they referred to him in a tweet, “W.E.B. DeBois.” To add insult to injury, the government agency made a grammatical error in their apology tweet, in which they offered their “deepest apologizes”. Yikes.

U.S. Department of Education

Image credit: The U.S. Department of Education


Win: Merriam-Webster

You wouldn’t think a dictionary publisher would have the most fascinating Twitter feed, but Merriam-Webster managed to double its following in 2017 through a simple yet effective word-of-the-day tradition.

Mirriam-Webster word of the day on Twitter

Image credit: Merriam-Webster


Fail: McDonald’s

Most people have posted something on social media without proofreading it properly first, but most people don’t have over 3 million followers. McDonalds jumped the gun on Black Friday in 2017 by posting this clearly not-quite-finished tweet (Wendy’s had a field day).

McDonald's Black Friday Facebook fail

Image credit: McDonald’s

Wendy's response to McDonald's Black Friday fail

Image credit: Wendy’s


Win: Netflix

Being sassy on social media is always a risky business for brands, but Netflix knows how to poke fun at people without taking it too far.

Netflix sassy social media post

Image credit: Netflix


Fail: Wendy’s

Wendy’s is just as well-known for their snarky social media as they are for their chicken nuggets. This strategy usually pays off (they have over 2 million Twitter followers), but it backfired when the Wendy’s Twitter account shared an image of Pepe the Frog, a meme associated with far-right groups. The tweet was quickly deleted, with Wendy’s offering the following explanation:

Wendy's Twitter fail Pepe the frog meme

Image credit: Wendy’s


Win: Airbnb

Politics and social media don’t always mix, but as Airbnb proved in 2017, subtly is key to avoiding backlash. They took to Instagram to promote their #WeAccept hashtag, cementing their status as a brand that values diversity without making any direct political statements.

Airbnb #WeAccept campaign

Image credit: Airbnb


Fail: Sunny Co. Clothing

Everyone loves a giveaway, as swimsuit brand Sunny Co. Clothing found out the hard way in 2017. They promised a free red swimsuit to anyone who reposted their giveaway offer on Instagram with a specific hashtag. Things quickly got out of hand as the post went viral, resulting in hundreds of thousands of reposts.

Sunny Co. Clothing had to hastily adjust the conditions of the giveaway, stating on Instagram that their brand “reserves the right to cap the promotion… due to the viral volume of participants.”

Sunny Clothing Co. giveaway fail

Image credit: Sunny Co. Clothing


If you want to be the kind of brand that wins at social media, why not work with a professional? Get in touch with Search Factory to find out how we can make the most of your social media marketing.

Social Media Marketing
December 5,2017
Jess Grant

Author: Jess Grant

Jess is a Senior Content Executive at Search Factory | iProspect. Her hobbies include eating more than the recommended daily intake of Caramello Koalas, trying to avoid embarrassing typos and spilling coffee on her keyboard.

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