Social Media for so many has been an amazing tool to integrate into any marketing strategy: it’s quick, cheap and it gets proven results. However, since the social boom three types of business have emerged: the business that gets it, the business that doesn’t, and the business that thinks they get it. The business that gets it is so much fun to watch and interact with. Ones that have truly put some effort and thinking into each social campaign and maximize the benefit for both the follower and the company. Great examples would be Southwest Airlines, Coca-Cola and Angry Birds. The businesses that don’t get it are the ones that view social media as something that is there as an additional outlet. Most of the time interns are in charge of them and it shows. Then there are those that think they know what’s up in the social world, only to watch what social grasp they have slip through their fingers. Companies like McDonald’s.
McDonald’s recently launched a Twitter hashtag campaign to bring about awareness of their fresh grown produce. #MeetTheFarmers was meant to promote the effort in a series of paid tweets that invaded users Twitter feeds. Wasn’t so bad, until the campaign switched to the #McStories hashtag. Great idea, branding the promotion, makes it a bit more identifiable. It ALSO makes it easier for the user to tinker with and personalize. In this instance, McDonald’s saw a surge in the use of it’s revised hashtag, only it turned into a McNightmare. Users were tweeting their own horrific experiences with the fast food chain. A company long associated with ‘fatty’, ‘disgusting’ and ‘obese factory’ thought it would be safe to unleash it’s online campaign to the Twitterverse. What have we learned? Keep McD’s in mind, but insert your business and listen up.
Social means social: probably the fact most think they know, but never really get. It’s amazing to me how some post what they do on Facebook, then wonder why they can’t land a job. Treat social media like a website that everyone maintains. even if you take it down, it’s not gone. In McDonald’s case, with a following that large, it’s probably been shared enough to make an impact.
Censorship is bad: This is the generation of ‘Can’t shut me up”. Actually every generation has been like that, but those generations didn’t have Twitter & Co. You think things would be the same without every single person with a social account having a voice AND the ability to rally around a single concept? It’s easier than ever, ask Egypt, SOPA (round 1) and now McDonald’s.
Don’t make it easy: You see this all the time in advertising, a concept that can easily be spun the wrong way to reference everything the client doesn’t want it to. “Like A Good Neighbor, State Farm isn’t there”. “Burger King, Have It Your Way…so long as it’s the way we give it to you”. McDonald’s…Urban Dictionary and Super Size Me has made it easy for the McHaters. If you launch something so easy for the masses to take over, make sure it’s full proof and has a solid back up plan.
McDonald’s will be fine. It’s survived everything above until now, it can survive whatever 140 characters throws at it. For the time being…