How a social media ‘joke’ can backfire on your brand

A recent, now-deleted quip about Mental Health Month on 7-Eleven’s Facebook page shows that joking about certain topics online is no laughing matter.

Really, 7-Eleven got lucky. The company posted its joke on Facebook about Mental Health Month right around the time the news media were busy with other things—namely, the death of Osama bin Laden.

However, observers such as Peter Shankman, Adweek and Buzzfeed took notice in the following days.

“On Facebook, you’re talking to a LOT of people,” wrote Shankman, one of the first bloggers to pick up on the now-deleted Facebook post. “Make a joke to three people? Not too dangerous. To over 700,000 people? Someone is going to be offended. And people were. Big time.”

For example, one commenter wrote, “Your latest status update is super lame and whoever updates your Facebook page should be fired.”

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