Earlier in February 2012, Woolworths reached out to their Facebook community and asked them to complete this sentence “this weekend, I can’t wait to…” Many responses from the Australian Facebook community were predictably harsh, and sometimes humorous in nature. What seemed like an easy way to promote fan engagement quickly escalated into a case study of what not to do on Facebook.
Not to be outdone, Woolworths’ biggest competitor Coles, invited Twitter followers to finish this sentence “In my house it’s a crime not to buy…” Again the replies from the community were met with heavy sarcasm and cynicism.
Many other iconic brands have had similar ‘social fails’, and there is now an internal struggle with marketing, public relations, corporate affairs and external agencies as to who should ‘own’ the Twitter and social media accounts. Some social campaigns will lead to a crisis situation, while the others believe that being overly cautious on social media won’t engage the community and will generate no benefit for the brand.
Social media is a great way to get up close and personal with consumers and customers. However it appears brands are often posting first and asking questions later, which can lead to a media issue scenario.
Regardless of which team or discipline ends up ‘owning’ the social media channels, it is important to ensure that there is a strategy in place to guarantee regular and engaging content. There needs to be a crisis plan in place in order to contain and mitigate any issues that arise from using social media, and there needs to be a tone and voice set for the channel to ensure consistent messages.
These basic elements should be in place before the channels and accounts are activated.