Social media is a wonderful tool in the world of marketing. Most of us know and understand the many advantages of using social media to connect with consumers, but what are some of the DISADVANTAGES, and what happens when social media campaigns fail?
One major downfall of social media is that many companies feel presure to use it, but don’t fully understand how to use it well. “Oh ya, and I want a tweet please”. Just because the technology is available doesn’t mean it should be used. Improper use of social media can be very harmful to a company. A spoiled reputation online can travel faster than chicken pox in a 1st grade classroom. Messages aren’t just being seen by a couple hundred people, they are being seen by a couple thousand people, and those thousand people are showing all of their friends.
Here are a couple examples of when social media went wrong.
1) In the heat of their “imported from detroit” campaign the Chrysler twitter feed was “hacked” and this lovely message was tweeted.
It very well might be true that the account was hacked, but apparently Chrysler failed to combat the tweet with any damage control. A very big no no in social media.
2) In spring of 2011 Molson Canadian launched a campaign that asked consumers to submit photos of themselves “enjoying” Canadian to the Facebook page for a chance to win a trip. This campaign failed miserably for a couple of reasons the main one being that it promoted underage drinking. Consumers, who were underage, submitted photos. These photos were then seen all over the Facebook page, and used as free photography for media campaignes. There was a huge back lash against Molson by parents and universities. It was a huge PR nightmare.
3) Skittles was so confident in socia media it relaunched its homepage into a social media extrveganza. The idea was to let consumers fill in the brand message. Big mistake. At first it didn’t seem like such a bad idea. Twitter was shut down because the site was so popular. By the second and third day of the campaign, however, the site was filled with profane messages.
Social media can be a great tool, but companies need to first understand how to use it and use it well. They also need to find balance between consumer interaction, and brand messaging. Not only is it lazy advertising to let consumers say who you are, it’s also not a very smart idea. Social media is for listening, and reacting.