CelebBoutique, the British clothing website, may have committed the foul-up of all foul-ups:
After being hammered for just a few minutes on social media, their social media people turned on the TV, and saw the terrible news from Aurora, Colorado. Then they sent this:
We apologise for our misunderstanding about Aurora. – CB
We didn’t check what the trend was about hence the confusion, again we do apologise.
Followed by this:
We are incredibly sorry for our tweet about Aurora – Our PR is NOT US based and had not checked the reason for the trend, at that time our
social media was totally UNAWARE of the situation and simply thought it was another trending topic – we have removed the very insensitive
tweet and will of course take more care in future to look into what we say in our tweets. Again we do apologise for any offense caused
this was not intentional & will not occur again. Our most sincere apologies for both the tweet and situation. – CB
Meanwhile, most Americans are livid at the insensitivity of what is now being perceived as a vacuous and clueless fashion brand spouting off about clothes, shoes, and celebrities. As a result, CelebBoutique has just taken a major hit to its brand, with several thousand people pounding them like the fist of an angry god.
And it’s not going to go away anytime soon.
I’ll cut them a little slack. Yes, I’m angry, but I also recognize that mistakes do happen. Someone made a terrible mistake, and it’s not worth storming the castle with pitchforks and torches. No one should lose their job for this.
But this was a mistake that could have easily — EASILY! — been prevented.
All you have to do is be curious, and be willing to educate yourself.
Lack of Curiosity Killed CelebBoutique
“We didn’t check what the trend was about.”
How do you not check this? How can you not be the least bit curious that some word is trending? Why was the first thing that popped into your head about you and your dress, and not “gee, I wonder why that word is trending?”
There are tools to tell you what is trending. There are tools to tell you why something is trending. Google, Twitter Search, even hashtags.org are all places to start.
This is where people need to think like journalists. A journalist never reports on a story that he hears from one person. A newspaper reporter doesn’t write a single sentence until she has confirmed everything her sources tell her. And they never, ever fire off a comment without knowing a single thing about what they’re talking about.
I don’t know if CelebBoutique uses an outside PR firm to do their social media, or if they have an internal staff. I don’t know if they have one person in charge of the Twitter account, or if there are several people.
But regardless of who is doing what, you need to act like a journalist. Even for just a minute. Act like a journalist.
Wonder why something is happening, and don’t just fire off the first thing that comes into your head, like an 8-year-old.
Otherwise, you pull a boneheaded move like this, and all the goodwill you and your company have worked for will be shredded and ground into the dirt.
Update: It looks like the National Rifle Association made a similar gaffe. They actually deleted their entire Twitter account.