Posts Tagged ‘Social Media Fail’

Social Media Success & Failure

January 14, 2011 1 comment

Learning from brand victories and losses on Facebook, Twitter et al.

Last week, Zeitgeist tried to book a holiday at one of the lovely resorts looked after by the luxury group “One & Only”. This company – which advertises mainly in Vanity Fair and Harrod’s magazine – ostensibly caters to discerning travellers who expect a certain level of service from the place they go to and the people that serve them. On trying to call one of the hotels, no one would pick up the phone, and the call rang off. The same thing happened when Zeitgeist tried again. Zeitgeist fired off a tweet, “mentioning” the company’s twitter feed, alerting them to the fact that a room was in need of booking but that no one was picking up the phone. This was mid-afternoon. At 10pm the next day, Zeitgeist received a private message from the One & Only account:

The only trouble was that the “OOResorts” account was not following Zeitgeist, so he found himself unable to reply. Thus the communication from the account was useless; they either were not social media-savvy enough to know I would not be able to reply to the message without them first following me, or they did not care enough to bother. Either possibility casts the brand in a poor light. It’s far from mandatory to have a Twitter account, but if you are going to set one up, you need firstly to respond to pleas for assistance in a timely manner (within 24 hours), and secondly to know how the platform works. The more equity your brand has (in the case of One & Only, it’s a fair amount), the more it has to lose by making simple errors such as this. In the meantime, Zeitgeist ended up booking a holiday at a different destination with a different company.

Starbucks, by comparison, although seen as a pin-up boy for the creep of homogeny in a globalised world, for the most part has done an excellent job when it comes to courting fans and maintaining a good PR stance on multiple subjects. This was the case again on Monday when it offered free coffee all day to UK customers. Zeitgeist found out about the offer through Twitter, but there was also an event on Facebook. A voucher could be downloaded and easily printed out or merely shown on your phone to your local barista. Now, the key here was, unlike the unpleasant (but free) glass of wine that Zeitgeist was entitled to upon checking into a restaurant on Foursquare at the end of last year, this coffee blend was delicious, it was not the sludge one would expect from an item that is free. That is because Starbucks realise the point is to use the free coffee to encourage future use; for newbies to think “Oh, their coffee is actually pretty good” – it’s not a throwaway gimmick. (It’s also so that people, when in the store collecting said coffee, will indulge in a muffin or some other accompaniment.) Good thinking, guys.

Cash Gordon and the Tory social media fiasco

March 23, 2010 Leave a comment

In a way social media is a bit like bomb disposal – get it wrong and the whole darn thing blows up in your face.

The latest ‘brand’ to get their fingers burnt (and eyebrows singed) are David ‘Call me Dave’ Cameron’s Conservative Party who launched to herald the start of online election battle and show just how on the pulse their finger is.

Set up to highlight Gordon Brown’s close relationship with the unions the site incorporated a Twitter feed showing any tweet containing the hashtag #cashgordon on the homepage. That’s right! Any tweet! And unmoderated!

Pretty soon the homepage was being bombarded by all manner of anti-Tory messages before users discovered that lines of code could also be included too. This allowed hackers to redirect visitors to other (darker) areas of the internet including, the Labour Party website, porn sites and, of course, Rick Astley videos.

Excellent Timeline courtesy of Meg Pickard

Further embarassment came when it was discovered that the $15,000  site developers had already built the template as part of a campaign against Obama’s healthcare reforms and is hosted alongside other sites including one that campaigns against gays in the military and another that aims to derail carbon trading legislation designed to combat climate change.

Compare and Contrast - "Cash Gordon" and "No Energy Tax"

The Tories aren’t the first and won’t be the last to make a pigs ear of a social media campaign and if anything can be salvaged from the debacle it is that they responded quickly and took the site down until the situation could be remedied.

While they are fortunate that the whole exercise won’t have touched the vast majority of voters, when you are trying to convince the masses that you should be running the country it doesn’t look great if you can’t even set up a website.