Habitat UK’s Twitter fail

UK home furnishings retailer Habitat is profusely apologizing after a pretty big fail on the social media front.

Habitat’s twitter page, @HabitatUK, got caught out spamming trending topics to get attention on the popular microblogging service. Okay, bad. Worse? Habitat’s offensive tweets were using the situation in Iran to boost traffic. *facepalm*

Here are some of the offending tweets.

Most Twitter users are used to those spammy tweets that annoyingly and shamelessly include every big trending topic, generally by low-rent spammers who sneak onto your followers list. #marksanfordaffair #meganfoxtransformerboobs #iphonesux, amirite? Habitat rushed to delete the tweets, but as you can see from my screengrab above (taken fifteen seconds ago), they’re still readily available in Twitter search. Habitat turned to the blogosphere to apologize, telling Social Media Today:

I know people have been waiting for a response tweet from us; we are treating this very seriously and wanted to offer a longer message. We have been reading everyone’s comments carefully and would like to make a very sincere apology to any Twitter users who were offended.

The top ten trending topics were pasted into hashtags without checking with us and apparently without verifying what all of the tags referred to. This was absolutely not authorised by Habitat. We were shocked when we discovered what happened and are very sorry for the offence that was caused. This is totally against our communications strategy. We never sought to abuse Twitter, have removed the content and will ensure this does not happen again.

It has been really valuable to hear how users would like us to use Twitter and we are determined to do better for the Twitter community.

Back on Twitter, Habitat also addressed the issue of third-party tweeting.

In response to speculation, we would like to clarify the hashtags were not uploaded by an agency.

Habitat’s Twitter fail is fated to go down as a textbook example of how not to get social media love. Not only did they demonstrate a really poor understanding of the medium, but they alienated a group of people who generally like to interact with trusted brands. Keyword: trust. Live it, learn it, love it, Habitat.

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