Habitat jump on Twitter in the wrong way and then change their behaviour quickly

socialmediatoday have a post up chronicling the adventures of Habitat in Twitterland over the last few days.  Within a very short space of time they opened up their Twitter account, started abusing #hashtags so their Tweets appeared in trending topics, got a lot of flak for being spammers and then deleted the offending Tweets and stopped abusing #hashtags.

For those that don’t know Habitat is a UK furniture retailer with a trendy brand that sits a little upmarket from IKEA.

I like this story for a couple of reasons:

  1. It shows how difficult it is for brands to engage effectively in social media unless they are genuine
  2. It illustrates how quickly feedback loops operate in the realtime web era – I say credit to Habitat for reacting so quickly

socialmediatoday is upset that Habitat hasn’t apologised.  Whilst I agree that would be better than simply stopping their bad behaviour, I’m not so sure they should be held to task for not publicly admitting their mistake.  Habitat is a long established brand and social media will still be a small part of their marketing budget.  It is in all our interests that companies like them continue to experiment with new media and if the price of failure is putting out apologies that can be read at will be superiors then my fear is that we will simply get less experiments and hence less money flowing into the sector.  Particularly as I suspect the storm has been limited to the Twittersphere and any apology would be seen much more widely.

I won’t repeat the detail of the socialmediatoday post, but I’ve put some of the offending Tweets below as the crassness of their #hashtag abuse is amusing.

imageand an example of the some of the negative response:


  • What is even more revealing is how corporate brands go about engaging in social media. Social media is an environment created by individuals, not corporations. Corporations then hire a “young thing” that has been employed to do this task based on credentials that are hard to measure (have they been famous bloggers themselves? No, do they have their own Twitter following? No, etc.) In our case “The Infamous Episode of HabitatUK and Twitter” the management at the retail brand must be pulling their hairs realising how poorly they selected whomever was to translate their precious brand to the social media milieau. Other firms, Ogilvy, are a bit cleverer and hire proper people like Thomas Crampton http://www.thomascrampton.com to lead this path……..

  • Thanks Ima

  • Its interesting how company branding works!

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