When Twitter campaigns go wrong

Social media is a very useful and powerful tool.

Used both personally and in the world of business, it brings friends, clients, competitors and foes together in extreme proximity (I found out what my neighbour was having for tea and desert last night – thanks for that Twitter!)

For businesses it can be a great way of advertising new products or services – and it’s all free!

Stats from July this year shown there are 554,750,000 active Twitter accounts across the globe and 135,000 people were signing up every day, that’s a huge audience. But sat in your office sending out an innocent tweet, you can sometimes forget the world’s eyes are on you – 24/7.

As a business owner you need to be careful what you tweet and who you are letting press that ‘tweet’ button.

Would you let an inexperienced member of staff stand up and give a presentation regarding your business if they had only been with the business for one month?


It’s the same for seemingly harmless Twitter.

But, as two very experienced businessmen found recently, you can know all about your line of work – but Twitter is not the place for those who know little or nothing about social media.

Social media can back fire – and badly.

Step forward British Gas customer services director Bert Pijls, who held a question and answer session on Twitter.

The hour long session was soon re-tweeted and the torrent of abuse began, with the topic of the recent energy hike sending tweeters into a frenzy.

Just days later Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary was left red faced when it was clear from the start he had never tweeted before.

A comment he made regarding a picture of one female tweeter, was immediately re-tweeted by other users followed by “Just found out what hashtags are. Learning on da job! Always compliment ladies pics.

The burning question is how did this social media disaster get past their PR teams?

Bringing in billions of pounds each year, they can surely afford to hire those in the know?

I will end this blog with one tweet to Ryanair which I think sums up our opinion on this perfectly: “Will you be looking for a new social media manager tomorrow?”