Kim Lachance Shandrow | Entrepreneur
Social media marketing can be hard to master. When done right, it can strengthen your brand value and ideally even your bottom line. When done wrong, it can alienate consumers and thrash your reputation.
January 18: McDonald’s hashtag gone wrong. McDonald’s (@McDonald’s) created the #McDstories hashtag on Twitter to inspire customers to share personal stories about their favorite McDonald’s moments. What McDonald’s didn’t bargain for was that customers would share both good and bad stories. And share they did — everything from allegedly crunching on fingernail clippings in Big Macs to getting food poisoning. The fast food mammoth yanked the #McDstories campaign only two hours after launching it, but a quick search on Twitter shows that the hijacked hashtag still goes on strong.
Lesson: You can’t control what consumers will say using your hashtag, and they can be hijacked by negative comments that can never be taken back.
January 27: Snickers gets caught paying for celebrity tweets. Marketers from Snickers’ U.K. branch (@SnickersUK) were hungry for retweets when they hired British model and reality TV start Jordon (aka Katie Price) to tweet about topics she likely would never normally tweet about, including Eurozone debt and China’s gross domestic product. Jordan followed up her rash of out-of-character tweets with a message about feeling like herself again thanks to Snickers. The stunt left many of Jordan’s followers reeling for thinking her Twitter account had been hacked.
Lesson: Pranking consumers in clever ways can draw attention to your brand, but usually not the right kind.