Teen Vogue's Twitter Fail, & other Lessons from Social Media Mistakes


Yesterday, when I was doing a regular check-in on my Facebook feed, I caught a news story via a Jezebel post regarding teenagers protesting at Conde Nast.  Curious, I clicked and read more.

It was there that I read this article about teenagers protesting at Teen Vogue and demanding that the magazine use more "real image of real girls". You go girls!  I was excited, but when I read on through the story and found other accounts of the nationally televised protest, I also found several reports saying that disappointingly, Teen Vogue's response was less than stellar.  (Check out the lack of response from the magazine in this article by Buzzfeed's Amy O' Dell HERE.)

With so much buzz building around the incident I decided to see what Teen Vogue's response was on social media (isn't it amazing that Twitter was the first place I went to see a real time response...times have change).  I headed on over to Teen Vogue's Twitter feed only to find that their response was...well there was no response.  They spent the day tweeting as if it was all business as usual.  Not one mention was made about the protest, their thoughts on airbrushing or "real" models, it was like they were living in a happy bubble that the rest of us were not part of yesterday afternoon.  To be honest, in light of the afternoon's protests and discussions, their afternoon tweets about celebrities and beauty actually felt a bit odd.  In the end, a (male) publicist made a statement, and as of late yesterday, the Twitter feed remained silent about the protest.

TWITTER FAIL! I'm actually a big fan of Teen Vogue and couldn't believe they didn't seize the chance to begin an open dialogue on and offlline with the teens.  I'm more surprised that they didn't even make a social media statement as the buzz online grew.  The thing is, like it or not, we live in a world where social media allows messages to spread quickly and demands us to be authentic online.  You can't ignore an incident and think it will go away.  You can't use Twitter when you want to communicate things on your agenda and then hide from Twitter when things are uncomfortable.

To be successful in social media (and life) you have to be transparent, authentic, responsive and engage in real conversations.  This also means taking the good and the bad.  If someone makes a comment on your Facebook page about something they didn't like about a product or service, don't erase it (unless it's an extreme case) instead, you respond to it.  Good social media skills require great customer service.  They require relationship skills.  If you were in an argument with your friends or family you would talk it out you wouldn't hide in your room and hope it went away.

Teen Vogue isn't the only big brand that has made social media mistakes and theirs is far from the biggest.  Read on to hear about other Twitter failures.  Learn from their mistakes!  Tweet on!

13 Epic Twitter Failures by Big Brands