Unless you’ve been under a rock for the past week, you’ll have seen the Yorkshire Tea Twitter scandal that happened on social media. It was big news in the social media world, but what made it even more powerful was the incredible response from Yorkshire Tea and the reaction thereof.
The scandal started when Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, tweeted a photo of him whilst making a cup of Yorkshire Tea.
A beloved beverage, Twitter didn’t take to this “political favour” by Yorkshire Tea, despite the brand having nothing to do with the promotion. Twitter went mad, hurling abuse at Yorkshire Tea and threatening to boycott the brand from now on.
Yorkshire Tea kept quiet throughout the whole thing. Until earlier this week.
In an impressively honest thread, presumably Yorkshire Tea’s social media team tweeted in response to the public uproar. The thread opened with “So it’s been a rough weekend.”
They proceeded to explain what they had had to deal with over the past few days. Their last tweet was one that received the most engagement and praise.
“But for anyone about to vent their rage online, even to a company – please remember there’s a human on the other end of it, and try to be kind.”
In the wake of Caroline Flack’s tragic suicide, which many people believe to be influenced by social media, Yorkshire Tea’s message resonates even more than it would before.
As a social media marketer, I am conflicted, as social media can be an incredible tool to promote good and raise awareness, just look at Stormzy’s youth vote impact last year, but the negative effects can be huge.
Yorkshire Tea’s honest response to huge online backlash has been incredible. Other brands have praised them for this, including competitor PG Tips, who tweeted “just wanted to let you know that I’m here for you. DM me if you fancy a cuppa. From one social media manager to another #cuppastogether”. Kellogg’s, Typhoo Tea and other brands responded, showing their solidaritea* (coined by PG Tips).
The key message in this whole scandal? Be kind. Social media channels of brands and businesses are actually run by people.