What You Can Learn from Delta’s Ghana Tweet to Avoid Social Media Fails

Social Media fails can strike at any time. Important events with their lure of instant virality often are the temptation that draws forth ill thought out social media posts from otherwise savvy brands. The latest social media fail to rock Twitter was Delta’s ill thought out Ghana tweet.

In celebration of the US world cup team’s victory over Ghana, Delta released this Tweet which has since been deleted.


Screenshot courtesy of FastCompany.

Twitter was quick to pick up on the inaccuracies found within this tweet (Hint: no giraffes in Ghana). So what can we learn from this mistake?

1. Fact Check

Always do your best to post only truthful information. If you are wrong the internet will point out your errors, be they grammatical or factual. Double check your information to be sure you are presenting it accurately. In time sensitive cases where you want to be the first to comment on breaking news you still must take a few moments to ensure your social media posts are up to your usual standards. Breaking news isn’t an excuse for a lack in quality control.

2. Avoid Sweeping Generalizations

Stereotyping anything is a great way to stir up controversy and strike up a good social media fail (unless your brand is about stirring up controversy in which case, please ignore this advice). Generalizations and stereotypes are almost always wrong, even among apparently homogenous groups there are still great variances. Do your research and avoid stepping on the toes of others and making your own brand look bad.

3. There is no Delete on the Internet

Celebrities, brands and individuals alike have discovered this the hard way. While you can delete and offending tweet, once it’s been seen there’s little you can do to stop it from spreading. Screenshots and retweets will keep your tweet living in infamy for a while. Deleting it does little good; a heartfelt apology may be a better way of handling social media fails. Admitting your mistakes and owning up to them will go a long way to rebuilding your brand’s reputation after a social media fail.

4. Participate in Current Events Carefully

The lure of instant virality is strong, but sometimes it’s best to stay out of current events on social media. We have seen this time and time again from brands. Sometimes they pull it off, other times they do not. Think long and hard before joining in the conversation about important current events, especially if they are far removed from your industry, or keep your responses measured.

Mistakes on social media do happen, and while there are measures you can take to avoid them we are after all only human. While we may not be able to avoid all social media fails we can learn from the ones that we do see happen, and use that knowledge to avoid making those same mistakes ourselves in the future. Do you have any more advice to avoid social media fails? Share your advice in the comments!