Bank of America Suffers Social Media Backlash

by Team Caffeine · 0 comments

lori r taylor, revmediamarketing, social media, social media marketing, branding, product branding, networking, oneclicksociety

Don’t Repeat History, Learn From It

I thought I saw the worst use of social media ever when Netflix spun off their DVD delivery service into Qwikster without securing the Twitter account for the name, then going on to essentially ignore the growing wave of fan resentment which was building against them online.

Then along came Bank of America, whose decision to charge people $5 a month to use their debit cards in the midst of a global recession, struck me as a bad idea at an even worse time. Cap it off with the fact that rather than launch a social media campaign to get people to accept the idea they launched a campaign to show that they deserved the additional revenue.


So, no surprise that recent analysis shows that Bank of America is the most hated brand on social media today. In fact, they are garnering more negative comments than any brand has received so far.

Double ouch!

But they did everything I could imagine they could do to EARN the growing tide of resentment including, but not limited to, not addressing any of the growing negativity on social media. Addressing negativity online is one of the best things about being active on social media. It is essentially at the core of every well managed social media campaign. People will talk smack about your brand, that’s practically a given fact. But you don’t have to sit there and let the negativity grow and fester until it’s a weeping wound threatening to bring down your entire organization (or in the case of Netflix and Bank of America, force you to backpedal on a company-wide decision.) You need to address this type of thing head-on, strike while the iron is hot and plead your case.

By ignoring the growing resentment toward their decision Bank of America was in essence saying, “we don’t care if you hate us; go ahead.” This of course made people feel even angrier, motivating them to work harder at discrediting the target of their ire and draw others to their cause, resulting in Bank of America pulling back from their decision.

Do yourself a favor and avoid these two prime examples of social media blunders. A professional social media manager can help you avoid these mis-steps, but then again, so will common sense.


Hatred of Bank of America has been much in the news lately, as it proposed a $5 debit card fee that angered its customers quite a bit. The bank dropped that fee idea Tuesday.

Many of the comments collected and displayed in Amplicate’s report are unprintable.

From November 2010 through October 2011, 88 percent of social media comments about Bank of America (NYSE: BAC) were negative, according to Amplicate. Just 12 percent were positive, putting the Charlotte bank at No. 3 on the most hated list. It ranked behind Dutch bank ING (98 percent negative) and Spain’s Santander (93 percent negative).

Click here to read more about the BofA backlash.

Team Caffeine

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