United and Delta Airlines Having a Bad Week on Social Media

Delta vs. FIFA Fans

We can all learn from the mistakes Delta airlines made on social media. This company is not the first to make these mistakes and it won't be the last

Most of us have been occupied watching the FIFA World Cup including their 1.9 million Twitter followers. With a following that large, they are likely looking to Social Media to keep them up to date. This is where Delta Airlines made a huge mistake.

When a large event such as World Cup is taking place most see this event as an opportunity to spark conversation, but the last thing you want is to spark a fire with the wrong comment. Delta Airlines Twitter account made that mistake following the United States win over Ghana. As part of a congratulations tweet, Delta posted a two-part photo with a “2” over the Statue of Liberty and a “1” over a Giraffe. The photos were supposed to represent the two teams (the US and Ghana) and the final score, 2-1. 
The problem with this tweet, which Delta Airlines immediately found out, is that giraffes aren’t native to Ghana. As the post hit the news feed, Delta began to feel the anger pouring in from FIFA fans. With tweets such as:

“For a company that specializes in travel, you’d think @Delta would know a little more about geography,” 

“Delta puts giraffe in Ghana, the first Twitter screw-up for a brand during the ’14 World Cup.”

Delta made a statement in regards to the tweet and a public apology that was published on June 17th. 
Later that day, their fellow airline United received a tweet from Rory McIlory questioning where his golf clubs were when he arrived in Dublin for the Irish Open.
Hey, @united landed in Dublin yesterday morning from Newark and still no golf clubs… Sort of needs them this week… Can someone help!?
McIlroy’s 1.92 Million Twitter followers decided to engage in the tweet, with over 3,200 favorites and 3,700 retweets. The tweet was the source of 27 articles including Fox Sports, Bleacher Report, ESPN, and the PGA with negative headlines such as “Club Dread: Rory McIlroy takes out anger on United Airlines” and “United Airlines loses Rory McIlroy’s golf clubs”.
United eventually responded to McIlroy and the clubs were delivered to the tournament. Rory sent an appreciation tweet to United “Re-@United with my clubs!”.

While most believe Social Media can be used to create relationships with your potential clients, these were two major airlines’ downfall in a 24 hour period. Double-check all posts being created for your company because people remember mishaps more often than success, so here is a checklist:

  • Make sure all tweets are approved by your client before publishing.
  • Stay neutral. Even if you are a political party, you do not need to express that about your business. Doing so could cause a decrease in your reach for customers.
  • Be informative. The key to this is making sure your information is correct. Learn from Delta J
  • And lastly, even if you have minimal followers, be careful what you say on any social media. Someone is always listening!