22/04/2016 Matt Horne

Homebase Social Media Fail

This week saw the sad news that the musical genius, soundtracker to many a child’s conception, pancake creator and surprisingly great basketball player, Prince died.

Like with many of the other great losses of 2016, people turned to social media to share their thoughts and feelings on the untimely passing of this cultural icon with a hashtag. That hashtag being #RIPprince. People sharing thoughts included brands, in (thankfully) a fairly on topic and respectful manner.

Who failed then?

So far so good, but unfortunately not all brands did so well. Can we all just turn our attention to Homebase’s customer service Twitter account for a moment?

The perfect tweet to make the case for a facepalm emoji

The perfect tweet to make the case for a facepalm emoji

That’s some serious hardcore hashtag hijacking right there! Non sequitur at most, tasteless to say the least.

Part of me hopes it was some kind of automation Homebase were trialing, taking a leaf out of the Twitter Spam Bots book, where a trending hashtag is tagged on to a tweet to extend their reach.

More likely though, it was just some very poor judgement on a human’s part.

Not surprisingly that tweet has since been deleted, and no doubt the person behind it fired or at least on coffee duty till the next celebrity death.

How to avoid this fail

I hope it doesn’t take an expert to point this out, but just don’t use a hashtag used to mourn a cultural icon to pump up your reach stats.

Brands - if you're going to highjack a hashtag to increase reach, don't use an obituary one Click To Tweet

Another slight fail

On a side note, the other slight fail on the part of social media was people thinking Niagara Falls went purple for #ripprince

When it was planned all along for the Queen’s 90th birthday. Sad serendipity more than solidarity.

A word of thanks

Tip of the hat to Lee Benecke from Amaze who brought the Homebase social media fail to my attention. If you’ve spotted any big brand mistakes on social recently, let me know in the comments below.

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Matt Horne

Freelance digital marketing and social media consultant dedicated to making your internet awesome.