The Perils of Twitter Advertising

As marketers continue to get to grips with the ever-changing world of social media marketing, there continues to be a number of black holes appearing that remain sealed in bureaucracy.

It’s all too easy to be blindsided by the benefits of social media advertising and forget to insure your best interests. Therefore I’ve invested some time this week in researching some of the perils that Twitter advertising could present to brands both big and small.

Promoted Tweets are certainly straightforward solutions to your Twitter marketing needs. As with Facebook advertising, you’re in control of your message and who sees it. But it’s worth remembering that social media marketing is still within the grasp of your man in the street.

Just last week Chicago-based business owner, Hasan Syed, bought a promoted Tweet for little more than $1,000 to slam British Airways following particularly poor customer service. It simply read: “Don’t fly with @British_Airways. They can’t keep track of your luggage”.

British Airways Twitter

The Tweet was not only seen by Syed’s 400 followers, but also 50,000 other Twitter users that were specifically “targeted” during the campaign. By tagging @British_Airways in the content too, Syed potentially exposed the Tweet via search fields to many of BA’s own 303,000+ followers too.

Marty St. George, a marketing executive at JetBlue, Tweeted soon after: “Interesting; a disgruntled customer is buying a promoted tweet slamming a brand where they had a bad experience. That’s a new trend itself!”

He warned that the use of promoted tweets as a form of consumer complaint could be the start of an emerging trend. This acts as a stark reminder that gone are the days where the brand itself is the powerhouse; in this day in age, the consumer is in the driving seat. Social media has proven to be a powerful weapon for disgruntled consumers who are able to act on their freedom of speech to effectively slate the offending brand.

It is proven that people “listen” on social media. When using the likes of Facebook or Twitter, people are typically engaged for long periods of time. So much so that they may often find themselves interacting with the stories of complete strangers.

It only takes a few hours for a post to go viral and in those few hours some serious damage can be done to even the toughest brands.

Another way of reaching your audience, which is growing in popularity particularly in the US, is celebrity endorsement. Stars such as Khloe Kardashian are reported to earn as much as £5,000 per Tweet, thus exposing the product or service to millions of users in one swift go. However, one UK campaign that went awry (but arguably boosted the brand in question nonetheless) goes back to early 2012, when Twitter advertising was still in its infancy.

Katie Price and Rio Ferdinand were amongst various famous faces that took part in a Snickers campaign, which led to a probe by the Advertising Standards Agency.

Katie Price Snickers

‘You’re Not You When You’re Hungry’ was at risk of breaching 2008 consumer protection regulations simply by not clearly stating that the Tweets in question were adverts.

Of course, with Twitter advertising you run a major risk of being “spammy” too. Despite the good intentions of your campaign, it’s likely that your message will find its way onto the news feeds of some of the most irrelevant users on the network. Yes, this counts towards the exposure you’re aiming for, but clogging up news feeds with bumf can sometimes do more damage than good – it’s important to get the balance right.

With so many unexplored risks to advertising on Twitter, it’s definitely worthwhile doing your research.

As the popularity of this marketing tool grows, I’m sure legislation will do its best to keep up. The future of digital relies heavily on social media for both pleasure and commercial uses – however much you may still be trying to avoid admitting it.

If you’d like a chat on how Twitter could help your business, please do get in touch. Why not follow me on Twitter @DanielleDunn_CA to stay in the loop too?


Why NOT to Neglect Your Social Media

Virgin Media Fiasco


The recent Virgin Media fiasco – whereby a customer was not only acknowledged as being deceased and charged his direct debit, but also given a late fee for the banks refusal to pay said direct debit – has served as somewhat of a warning to major corporations globally of the significance of social media and that the customer most certainly has more control than they perhaps once had.

Previously, cases such as this; of insensitivity and bungling errors, would have remained for the eyes of the corporation in question and only them. Of course, now with the rise in social media, more and more disgruntled customers are choosing to air their dirty laundry in a public forum and often to a riotous response.

Posted on Facebook by the deceased’s son, the story has already gathered close to 90,000 shares and has caused uproar:

(Virgin Media) are to be publically commended for swooping in with all the sensitivity of a charging rhino and instantly fining an extra £10 for having the unheard of nerve to be dead and therefore being unable to pay you”, wrote Mr Boyden, son of the deceased, “You also win extra points for noticing his bank had returned his Direct Debit informing you he had passed away, then still slapping on a fine anyway.”

Virgin media have since issued a formal apology to Mr Boyden and of course withdrawn the late payment charges. However I cannot help but think that this is too little, too late.

A global brand such as Virgin lends a great deal of it’s modern day success to the Internet and it baffles me how this vast corporation has somewhat neglected their social media. For brands such as Virgin, it is intrinsic to their online portfolio that online chatter is carefully monitored and a crisis management plan put in place should the need arise.

Let this example of a social media shambles be an example. I would urge any brand worth their salt to take heed and invest some time and money in sourcing adequate CRM software. Put the preparations in place today and they’ll pay dividends tomorrow.

If you’d like to chat about this in further detail, please do get in touch. You can email me at or send me a Tweet.


On Hash Tag Indiscretions



I am certainly not one to revel in the death of another, but I cannot help but smirk at the recent Twitter faux pas of #nowthatchersdead. Statements had to be released to reassure worried fans that the 66-year-old pop diva was indeed still alive after the trending topic remained unclear to many.

Not surprisingly, this isn’t the first time that the humble hash tag has gone awry: one of my favourite Twitter bungles was that of Waitrose whom opted for #WaitroseReasons.

Just last year the supermarket opened themselves up to ridicule as they invited customers to Tweet their own reasons for shopping at the upmarket supermarket. #WaitroseReasons drew in responses such as “I shop at Waitrose because I think food must automatically be better if it costs three times as much”, and “I shop at Waitrose because it makes me feel important and I absolutely detest being surrounded by poor people”.

In 2012, hash tag blunders reached whole new levels as #Aurora began trending globally following fatal shootings at a US screening of Batman’s ‘the Dark Knight Rises’. Fashion retailer @celebboutique fatally misinterpreted this (or played ignorant) and tweeted to their 62,000 followers: “#Aurora is trending, clearly about our Kim K inspired #Aurora dress”.  Naturally, this caused outrage online and the UK based outlet was forced to apologise: “we didn’t check what the trend was about hence the confusion”.

Clarity is important when publishing 140 characters for the whole world to see. #nowthatchersdead is not a trend that I particularly enjoy, however to avoid the confusion I would have simply recommended using camel case – what could be misinterpreted as #NowThatChersDead becomes #NowThatchersDead as was intended.

Tweet me @DanielleDunn_CA if you’ve ever made a Twitter gaffe of your own!

How Social Are You?

Shared from Danielle Dunn Creative Agency – Studio Blog

SM Apps


It seems as though we could all do with giving Evolv a cyber high-five after the company unwittingly revealed statistics that reveal that employees who engage in social media are generally more productive.

The start up, which monitors hundreds of metrics from Fortune 500 companies, found that employees that regularly use up to four social networks made more sales or handled more calls than those who did not.

You could argue that the usage of many social networks simply reflects a sociable personality, which in turn makes…[Read More]