Another week, another social media blunder.

This week’s easily avoidable gaffe is courtesy of Dave & Buster’s who published a tweet containing a pun based on an ethnic stereotype in hopes of promoting ‘Taco Tuesday’. (Original story via AdWeek)

I never find it short of amazing that tweets like these actually get published. Here are a few reasons why:

  • Someone needed to write this and think it was a great way to promote Taco Tuesday
  • The writer also needed to think that it was in the brand’s voice, and in accordance to brand values
  • The tweet likely needed to pass through an approval process, which means that someone else looked at this and also thought it was a great idea
  • The tweet was likely scheduled to be published, which means there was time – hours, days or weeks – for these individuals to arrive at the realization that the tweet may be considered to be in poor taste
  • Finally, there have been enough other monumental screw-ups since the dawn of social media to have taught this organization to ensure better judgment is applied

I simply don’t understand how this kind of thing is still happening.

Here are 4 ways that Dave & Buster’s could have avoided this, which are also solid guidelines for any organization to follow to avoid such missteps:


This needs to be a mantra that is applied to everything you do on social media: If there’s ever any doubt, simply don’t do it. A little common sense can go a long way to helping you avoid negative backlash.


The social media landscape is dynamic and frequently requires decisions and resulting actions to be made in less time than in other communication channels. This can increase the opportunity for errors to be made. Don’t allow this pressure to force activity that you and your teams haven’t had sufficient time to think through.


There are times that what seems obvious to you, isn’t so obvious to others. I highly recommend that training manuals and guidelines be created to govern your social media marketing activity, to require greater discipline from those who are involved in ongoing implementation, to take advantage of foreseeable opportunities, and to mitigate risk.


Too often, day-to-day social media marketing activity continues to be managed by relatively junior staff that doesn’t have the necessary oversight, professional maturity, brand knowledge, business acumen, professional social media experience, and other such qualities to effectively execute a social media plan while mitigating risk. Avoid screw-ups by having an appropriately experienced staff in place, and enjoy the added benefit of maximizing your social media ROI.


How does your organization mitigate risk on social media?

What processes and policies do you have in place to avoid this kind of misjudgment?

As always, it would be great to chat with you more about this in the comments, or on Twitter @RGBSocial

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Marketing, Process, ROI, Social Media, Social Media Strategy


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