Pairing Condolences With A Marketing Pitch: How To Get Social Media Wrong After A Tragedy

There are many ways to be insincere, but a surefire method if you want to destroy any shred of goodwill toward others you’ve just expressed on social media? Follow it up with a pitch for your business. Unfortunately, as in past tragedies, some brands still don’t understand that when something like the bombings in Boston happen, it’s time to zip it up.

The latest hullabaloo over social media gone wrong bubbled up after foodie site Epicurious sent out a couple of Tweets expressing sadness over the bombings at Monday’s Boston Marathon, which killed three and injured many more. According to CBS News, the site Tweeted on Tuesday:

“Boston, our hearts are with you. Here’s a bowl of breakfast energy we could all use to start today.”

Okay, so not really awful, just, bad timing, perhaps? But it followed up with:

“In honor of Boston and New England, may we suggest: whole-grain cranberry scones!”

Sigh, head shake, tsk tsk and tut tut. Just stop after the first part, the condolence part, next time.

Twitter users responded by alerting Epicurious that if you’re not adding anything valuable to the conversation, just keep your mouth shut. Trending keywords are so tempting, we know, but use them for good, not raking in business or promoting your brand.

Epicurious has since apologized on Twitter and erased the offending tweets, writing:

We’ve said it many times, and we’ll say it again: Business and awful, upsetting events that result in the loss of human life just do not mix. It’s better to stay away from Twitter than try to join the conversation and twist it to your own purpose. Your customers will like you more if you’re not trying to cash in on a tragedy, promise.

Previously: 10 Examples Of Why Companies Should Just Avoid Twitter Altogether 

Epicurious apologizes for “insensitive” Boston tweet [CBS News]