Monday, August 8, 2011

Social Media Flops Of Respected Companies

Many people claim to be the real experts on social media. Many people struggle to understand there is more than just “cool” conversation with fans and followers on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other sites, especially when shared on behalf of a company.

Although each social media site has its own culture, language and communication style, all have one thing in common. There are ethics to be preserved. Otherwise negative coverage explodes like a time bomb.

Take the recent case of Microsoft, building up on Amy Winehouse sudden death, trying to exploit mourning of twitter community for its own commercial benefit:@tweetbox360 Microsoft UK PR : Remember Amy Winehouse by downloading the ground-breaking ‘Back to Black’ over at Zune:… 25 Jul via web. A lot of people found this initiative insensitive and Microsoft had to change the tone: "Apologies to everyone if our earlier Amy Winehouse 'download' tweet seemed purely commercially motivated. Far from the case, we assure you." Following later with a compassionate tweet: "With Amy W's passing, the world has lost a huge talent. Our thoughts are with Amy's family and friends at this very sad time." 

Microsoft is not the only Company facing a debacle within its on-line (mainly Twitter) community, in that case due to underestimating community distaste for commercial usage of a celebrity’s misfortune. Some flops are built up incidentally, other time fiasco is a result of purposely issued tweet aiming to test the communication boundaries while getting the media coverage at any costs.

A blunder was most probably a reason for crisis communication of Chrysler Autos this March, after an employee from the hired New Media Strategies agency has mistaken her account for the one she was managing on behalf of @ChryslerAutos and issued following tweet: “I find it ironic that Detroit is known as the #motorcity and yet no one here knows how to f#king drive.” Chrysler immediately after apologized for having their brand compromised and took steps to resolve the issue.

Another case was the one of Kenneth Cole, an American fashion designer, who tried early this year to use the upheaval in Egypt (#Cairo) to promote his own spring collection on Twitter. Luckily for him, the whole event faded while the huge initial negative feedback was replaced not just by instant apology of Kenneth Cole himself, but mainly because Twitter geeks started to joke under #KennethColeTweets about this brand: „People from New Orleans are flooding into Kenneth Cole stores!“ or „People of Australia: Water up to your ankles? We´ve got your Kenneth Cole Capri right here!“. Community sentiment changed from asking people to #unfollow the brand towards growing No. of Kenneth Cole followers laughing about the whole thing. 

Humor have already saved attractiveness of many brands, but one cannot count on it in crisis management. Much more appropriate is to stay authentic and real, truly tuned in the community mood. With system for effective monitoring of social media discussions 24/7 as well as with ready strategies and plans for immediate response to unintentional flops each Company can hope that the issue will fade away as the on-line community will move on to the next big thing.

 Progressive CEO Changes Crisis Into Opportunity

No comments:

Post a Comment