I like edgy Twitter accounts and brands that do PR stunts. KFC's full-page apology ad was genius. IHOP rebranding to IHOB definitely deserves an award. And when Wendy's starts roasting people on Twitter, it makes me like them even more.

So, when Chase decided to use a new "meme format" to attract Millennials and Gen Z, I wasn't that surprised. But, as you can see from the now-deleted tweet below, it didn't go as planned.

They quickly followed up with an apology tweet, however, that only fueled the fire even more.

Senator Elizabeth Warren had this to say: 

This was one of my favorite comments:

And a close second from Representative Katie Porter:


If you're running social media for a company, here's what you need to know:

1. If you're going to be edgy, make sure it isn't about how little money your customers have.

I feel like this should be the No. 1 point in the social media manual for Chase's brand. Something along the lines of, "Hey, don't talk about how little money our customers have because of obvious reasons we shouldn't have to explain in this manual." That would be a good start, don't you think?

The tweet, rightfully so, sent the internet ablaze and the worst case scenario happened. Celebrities and politicians used that meme format to talk about how exactly Chase is part of the problem and not the solution. In regards to bad tweets, this one is up there.

For anyone running their own social campaigns, consider what you or your brand stands for before getting "cute" with your tweets. It only works when you have a true understanding of what your brand stands for.

2. When you mess up, your immediate follow-up should be a genuine apology.

Okay, you sent a tweet that hit a wrong chord. It happens to the best of us. Chase deleted the tweet and then issued an apology tweet. Except, it made the situation even worse.

Instead of using this time to write a genuine apology, they used the tweet to say how bad they were at #MondayMotivation. Now, it's great that they acknowledged their mistake, but it missed the mark. The comments essentially ignored the "apology" and kept driving critics' point home about how Chase was bailed out during the recession, and how they should be the last one to talk about saving money.

The next time you make a mistake on social media, immediately own up with a genuine apology. The more personal the response, the better off you are. If you're able to, the apology should come directly from a personal twitter account in addition to the brand's social media account. The more others believe your apology is genuine, the faster the bleeding will stop.

3. Your entire company should be truly empathetic to your customers (especially the communications team).

Like I said before, there's nothing wrong with funny tweets or posting the latest meme. When you create your social media plan, you should definitely plan on being edgy. But, you also need to have a list of topics you absolutely cannot approach.

I'm unsure if the team who posted (and approved) the tweet was an external social media agency or if this was an internal team, but regardless, it's clear something was missing from the message they were trying to deliver.

One way to prevent something like this happening in the future is by making sure your team truly understands the lives of their customers. Ensure that the team is using company's products regularly or interact with the customers on a daily basis so they can see the problems customers are constantly facing. Doing this will make an immediate impact on your social media presence.

If you're trying to attract Millennials, it doesn't mean you have to post memes. It's painfully obvious Chase is trying to be more relatable to Millennials and Gen Z, and this time it fell flat. My recommendation to companies who are trying to attract younger customers is to be a little bit more empathetic and less "trendy" on social. And when you mess up, a genuine apology always wins.

Published on: Apr 30, 2019
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.