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10 Biggest Social Media Mistakes By Companies In 2017

From an ad gone wrong to an in-flight commotion caught on cam, our list of the 10 biggest social media mistakes by companies in 2017 gives you a glimpse into the viral blunders that caused the web to buzz during the first-half of the year.

Without a doubt, social media has dramatically transformed the way companies promote their brands—and there’s no stopping it anytime soon. According to a 2016 study by Gartner, more than 80% of the companies it surveyed planned to deploy a social media campaign this year. In 2015, 52% of consumers’ purchases were influenced by Facebook, compared to 36% in the year before, based on a study by DigitasLBi Connected Comission.

One of the reasons why social media is fast becoming a tool for advertising is due to its ability to deliver measurable results, particularly in terms of leads and sales. This is why Facebook, which has 1.94 billion monthly active users as of March 2017, has been ramping up efforts to boost its ad tools, mobile or otherwise. YouTube, Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram and others also have their respective strategies to woo both advertisers and consumers.

Antonio Guillem/

Antonio Guillem/

But like a double-edged sword, social media can either uplift a brand or jeopardize it. With a few months left before the year ends, several companies have already chalked up their fair share of social media fails. In severe cases, the biggest PR meltdowns on social media translated to a drop in shares or sales. Nevertheless, social media blunders by companies are something to learn from in this tech-reliant world. According to Forbes, some of the most common social media mistakes that companies tend to commit include ignoring their audience, forcing a connection to current events, and the lack of a clear social media strategy. And while bad publicity is still good publicity in some ways, companies need to think twice about going viral if their brand is at stake.

If you liked this article, you might also like our list of the 17 top social media apps in 2016.

In this article, we referenced Ranker’s list of the biggest social media mistakes by companies in 2017, though using only the top 10 companies which we deemed to be household names. Based on that list, the companies that have suffered the biggest social media fails so far this year are Adidas AG, Beiersdorf AG, McDonald’s Corp. (NYSE:MCD), PepsiCo, Inc. (NYSE:PEP), Samsung Electronics Co Ltd, Snap Inc. (NYSE:SNAP), Uber Technologies Inc., Unilever PLC (NYSE:UL), United Continental Holdings (NYSE:UAL), and Wendys Co. (NASDAQ:WEN).

Check out how they failed and the fallout from it on the following pages.

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