Social media 101: Social Media Disasters


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This deck provides a summary of 14 examples of branded social media posts and campaigns that went wrong along. Key learnings are provided with advice on how to reduce the risk of having a bad example yourself.

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  • Nice one. Most of them are irreducible fundamentals of business and all these companies very well know when the misstep happens. They might have just thought that they can get away with their traditional solutions. This is a new medium where old strategies with new tools bring disaster. This shows that businesses should learn from being a control-freak and egoistic to zero control and being sincere.
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  • I appreciate this presentation, but I'm feeling distracted by the repeated misuse of apostrophes. It's is a contraction for 'it is' and the possessive of it is just its.
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  • Excellent slideshare, Bill. Nice range of companies and situations, and liked the lessons learned for each. Would love to see a little more detail around exactly where the breakdown occurred. A common theme here is 'all employees should be trained' but that's not always feasible or realistic. What are other options?
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  • Good case studies on what not to do in real-time.
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  • @VBlair. Thanks!! It's been a pretty popular deck.
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Social media 101: Social Media Disasters

  1. 1. Social Media 101: Social Media Disasters Examples of how social media efforts can backfire Bill Chamberlin, Principal Client Analyst, Market Insights 12 July 2011
  2. 2. About This Presentation <ul><li>This deck provides a summary of 14 examples of social media projects that went wrong along with advice on how to reduce the risk of having a bad example yourself. </li></ul>Social Media 101: Social Media Disasters July 12, 2011
  3. 3. Table of Contents <ul><li>Summary </li></ul><ul><li>Fourteen Examples of Social Media Disasters </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Dell </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Denny's </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>CVS Pharmacy </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Price Chopper </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Nestle </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Kenneth Cole </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Cisco </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Habitat </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Chrysler </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Honda </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Johnson & Johnson </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Dominos </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ryanair </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>United Airlines </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Additional Reading </li></ul>Social Media 101: Social Media Disasters July 12, 2011
  4. 4. Summary: Why These Examples Made The Disaster List <ul><li>Lack of corporate social media policies </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of real-time monitoring </li></ul><ul><li>Not responding to customer concerns </li></ul><ul><li>Employees not trained in company policies </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of professional Social Media managers </li></ul><ul><li>Too much focus on self-promotion (lack of relationship building) </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of due diligence before launching social campaigns </li></ul>Social Media 101: Social Media Disasters July 12, 2011
  5. 5. Summary: Key Learnings From These Examples <ul><li>Having a social media presence that represents your brand means responding quickly and directly. </li></ul><ul><li>You need to plan for the worst while expecting the best. </li></ul><ul><li>A professional and responsible manager should be in charge of all communication on the various sites and this person should be very well versed on the many risks of social media. </li></ul><ul><li>All employees are potential spokesmen for your brand. They (including executives) should be trained in the basics of good and bad social media communications </li></ul>Social Media 101: Social Media Disasters July 12, 2011
  6. 6. The 2005 Dell example, perhaps the most famous, started with blog post from an influential blogger, Jeff Jarvis Social Media 101: Social Media Disasters July 12, 2011 Source: June 21, 2005 Dell lies. Dell sucks. Dell lies. Dell sucks I just got a new Dell laptop and paid a fortune for the four-year, in-home service. The machine is a lemon and the service is a lie. I'm having all kinds of trouble with the hardware: overheats, network doesn't work, maxes out on CPU usage. It's a lemon. But what really irks me is that they say if they sent someone to my home -- which I paid for -- he wouldn't have the parts, so I might as well just send the machine in and lose it for 7-10 days -- plus the time going through this crap. So I have this new machine and paid for them to F****ING FIX IT IN MY HOUSE and they don't and I lose it for two weeks. DELL SUCKS. DELL LIES. Put that in your Google and smoke it, Dell. Posted by jarvis at 09:48 PM | Comments (253)
  7. 7. Dell did not respond promptly to blogger Jarvis or the thousands of people who were reading his blog <ul><li>By not responding promptly, the social media flames were fueled hotter. </li></ul><ul><li>Jeff Jarvis called his experience “Dell Hell”. As time when on, when you Googled “Dell”, Jarvis’s “Dell Hell” blog posts came up on the top of the Google results. </li></ul><ul><li>His widely circulated criticism triggered dozens of other bloggers and hundreds of people to leave comments …publicly complaining about Dell Service. </li></ul><ul><li>Dell learned from this experience. They retooled their customer service operations and launch3e a social media operations capability that monitors social conversations in real time. </li></ul><ul><li>By October 2007, Jeff Jarvis was impressed with Dell enough to write an article in Business Week Dell Learns to Listen. </li></ul>Social Media 101: Social Media Disasters July 12, 2011 Source: <ul><li>Key Learnings: </li></ul><ul><li>In the end, blogged complaints like Jarvis' can do as much damage as a negative advertising campaign. </li></ul><ul><li>Failing to respond quickly can hurt your brand’s reputation. </li></ul><ul><li>Dell’s story is great because it is not only example of a company that failed, but shows you how a company can learn from it’s mistakes. Today Dell is known as a company that understands how to leverage social media for customer service </li></ul>
  8. 8. Denny’s menu’s pointed people to an incorrect Twitter ID <ul><li>Denny’s printed up thousands of new menus, including a link to their Twitter ID, Facebook account, and .com site </li></ul><ul><li>The menus were distributed to over 1,500 restaurants last year. </li></ul><ul><li>The Twitter ID pointed customers to , which is owned by a boy in Taiwan named Denny. </li></ul><ul><li>The error was uncovered last November, but many menus apparently have not been replaced. </li></ul><ul><li>Key Learnings: </li></ul><ul><li>Have social media managers approve and test out all customer deliverables </li></ul><ul><li>Search social media platforms for your brand names and related keywords. Know what is out there. </li></ul>Social Media 101: Social Media Disasters July 12, 2011 Source:
  9. 9. CVS Pharmacy “CVS_Cares” Twitter ID was established, but it was locked private for a number of weeks <ul><li>CVS Pharmacy set up a Twitter ID for CVS_Cares and asked customers to send messages, suggestions and feedback. </li></ul><ul><li>The Twitter ID was locked, requiring people to ‘request’ to follow. </li></ul><ul><li>A locked Twitter stream for a Community Manager is not only an oxymoron, it’s one of the Internet’s silliest moves, perhaps ever. </li></ul><ul><li>Key Learnings: </li></ul><ul><li>Fully test out all social media platforms and properties before launching </li></ul><ul><li>It’s been fixed now, but the hit on the brand for something like this can be costly </li></ul>Social Media 101: Social Media Disasters July 12, 2011 Source:
  10. 10. Supermarket chain Price Chopper Customer Service employee gets into a tweeting dispute with one of their customers <ul><li>A customer posted a tweet that criticized the supermarket chain. “Every time I go into a  @PriceChopperNY  I realize why they are not @Wegmans. Tonight — bare produce areas”  </li></ul><ul><li>A representative of Price Chopper’s customer service department saw the tweet and contacted the customer’s employer (which was mentioned in the individual’s Twitter bio) and asked that he be disciplined. </li></ul><ul><li>The dispute went viral after an influential friend of the customer blogged about it. “ Price Chopper Attacks Customer’s Job Over Negative Tweet” resulting in a lot of bad press for Price Chopper. </li></ul><ul><li>Key Learnings: </li></ul><ul><li>All employees should go through social media training and be taught how to respond to negative comments posted in the social media. </li></ul><ul><li>Real-time social media listening tools can catch negative comments as they happen and trained customer service personnel can respond on behalf of the company </li></ul>Social Media 101: Social Media Disasters July 12, 2011 Source:
  11. 11. Greenpeace battles Nestle on YouTube, Twitter and on Facebook…. <ul><li>Greenpeace  launched a campaign against Nestle KitKat procuring palm oil from suppliers who are “destroying the Indonesian rainforests, threatening the livelihoods of local people and pushing orang-utans towards extinction.” </li></ul><ul><li>Nestle tried unsuccessfully to control the conversation. </li></ul><ul><li>The battleground played out on Youtube, then spilled over into Twitter and Facebook </li></ul><ul><li>Key Learnings: </li></ul><ul><li>While brands might be able to control traditional media platforms, they can’t fully control social media platforms </li></ul><ul><li>In social media, power has, in fact, shifted to the community. Fans and activists can quickly take over social media properties. </li></ul>Social Media 101: Social Media Disasters July 12, 2011 Source: A timeline showing how the first four days of the online PR battle between Nestle and Greenpeace
  12. 12. … and Nestle takes out it’s frustration on Facebook, which is heard by the entire 90,000 Nestle fans….then it goes viral to the world <ul><li>Greenpeace visitors posted with altered Nestle logos to Facebook </li></ul><ul><li>Nestle responded &quot; We welcome your comments, but please don't post using an altered version of any of our logos as your profile pic -- they will be deleted.&quot; </li></ul><ul><li>A firestorm erupted on Facebook and then Twitter where millions were exposed to the negativity </li></ul><ul><li>Key Learnings: </li></ul><ul><li>Social media is about embracing your market – the good and the bad. </li></ul><ul><li>Employees should be guided to engage, debate positively, and have a conversation rather than preaching or trying to control the conversations. </li></ul>Social Media 101: Social Media Disasters July 12, 2011 Source:
  13. 13. Designer Kenneth Cole tried to leverage the uprising in Egypt to market his spring collection of clothes <ul><li>Although trying to be humorous, his tweet made light of a very serious situation in Egypt. </li></ul><ul><li>His tweet went viral. In the hours and days after his tweet, Twitter was seeing an estimated 1500 negative responses an hour. </li></ul><ul><li>Days later, Cole deleted his original tweet and apologized on his Facebook page “I apologize to everyone who was offended by my insensitive tweet about the situation in Egypt. I’ve dedicated my life to raising awareness about serious social issues, and in hindsight my attempt at humor regarding a nation liberating themselves against oppression was poorly timed and absolutely inappropriate.” </li></ul>Social Media 101: Social Media Disasters July 12, 2011 Source: <ul><li>Key Learnings: </li></ul><ul><li>You only have 140 characters in Twitter. Hard to combine humor and sensitivity into a marketing message </li></ul><ul><li>Sometimes the tone of your message does not get through on Twitter. </li></ul><ul><li>All employees should undergo Social Media training, even executives </li></ul>
  14. 14. Cisco: Attempt at making viral videos spoofing Old Spice campaign <ul><li>Cisco attempted to mimic the enormously successful Old Spice Campaign. Produced about 10-15 CiscoSPice videos </li></ul><ul><li>Instead of using a hot man in a towel, they used “Ted from Accounting”. </li></ul><ul><li>Cisco fans were encouraged to visit the three different Cisco Twitter accounts and tweet at Ted with the hashtag #CiscoSPice. </li></ul><ul><li>Result: Cisco videos fell flat and were made laughing stock of by marketing and advertising professionals </li></ul><ul><li>Key Learnings: </li></ul><ul><li>While this was not a true disaster, it was an ill-conceived attempt at making a viral video. </li></ul><ul><li>The spoof of Old Spice was not relevant to the brand </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t split focus between multiple Twitter accounts. </li></ul>Social Media 101: Social Media Disasters July 12, 2011 Source:   Who is Ted from accounting?   Introducing CiscoSPice
  15. 15. @HabitatUK used top trending hashtags in an attempt to get more people to notice their tweets <ul><li>Habitat (a furniture store) tried using top trending #Hashtags to get noticed by a wider audience. </li></ul><ul><li>Habitat even used hashtags #iranianelection and #mousavi) </li></ul><ul><li>The tweets were recognized for what they were…a spamming technique. </li></ul><ul><li>HabitatUK responded by deleting their tweets, but never apologized. </li></ul><ul><li>Key Learnings: </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t spam. Social Media is about developing relationships, not spamming them. </li></ul><ul><li>Apologize when you do something wrong. Use it as an opportunity to engage in conversations with those you offended. </li></ul>Social Media 101: Social Media Disasters July 12, 2011 Source:
  16. 16. Errant tweet on @ChryslerAutos branded account was caught quickly, but damage done. <ul><li>Offending tweet posted on the Chrysler Twitter account. </li></ul><ul><li>Chrysler catches it later that same day, but not until after many other Twitter users retweet the post. </li></ul><ul><li>Chrysler posts a statement on its blog that an employee at New Media Strategies, Chrysler’s social media agency had posted that tweet. The post went on to say that the employee had been terminated and Chrysler would not be renewing it’s contract with NMS. </li></ul><ul><li>Fired employee blamed a bug in the Tweetdeck application, claiming the post was meant for his personal account, not Chrysler’s </li></ul>Social Media 101: Social Media Disasters July 12, 2011 Source:!5780113/chrysler-loses-control-of-twitter-account-drops-f bomb <ul><li>Key Learnings: </li></ul><ul><li>Best to train your own employee team to tweet on your behalf. </li></ul><ul><li>If you do use outside agencies, ensure they are trained as well. Consider having an approval process in place for all posts. </li></ul>
  17. 17. Enthusiastic fan on Honda’s Facebook page turns out to be a Manager of Product Planning at Honda <ul><li>Honda launches Facebook page to elicit feedback from public on it’s new Accord Crosstour design. </li></ul><ul><li>While many respondents were critical of the new design, one fan seemed to really like it. “Interesting design, I would get this car in a heartbeat.” </li></ul><ul><li>Other fans researched the fan and found he was an employee at Honda, responsible for product planning. (see image to right!) </li></ul><ul><li>Media picked up the story, complete with images of the exchange. </li></ul><ul><li>Honda issued an apology the next day, but damage was already done. </li></ul>Social Media 101: Social Media Disasters July 12, 2011 Source: <ul><li>Key Learnings: </li></ul><ul><li>Employee training is critical. Employees should be trained to make sure all posts are transparent and the public understands their affiliation with their company. </li></ul><ul><li>Social media participants are smart enough to pick up on any false representation. </li></ul>
  18. 18. Motrin offended moms with their ads that encouraged women to use their babies as “fashion accessories” <ul><li>Back in Nov. 2008, J&J’s video for the Motrin® pain killer struck a bad nerve with influential mommy bloggers. </li></ul><ul><li>The video talked about how most moms find carrying babies causes them pain…and that Motrin can help. The ad came off as making fun of mommies and how they ‘wear their babies” </li></ul><ul><li>Mommy bloggers struck back, saying that carrying babies is wonderful and does not cause them pain…that there are many joys of carrying babies. </li></ul><ul><li>J&J actually responded fairly quickly, taking down the video the next day and then posting an apology on the website the following day. But the story went viral and the message was that J&J was not aware of how mother’s perceived the experience of holding and carrying their babies around. </li></ul>Social Media 101: Social Media Disasters July 12, 2011 Source: I and <ul><li>Key Learnings: </li></ul><ul><li>Identify and nurture social media influencers within your target audience. </li></ul><ul><li>Test campaigns before they are launched. </li></ul>
  19. 19. Domino’s employees post disgusting video on YouTube <ul><li>Bored Dominos employees not only decided to film themselves performing rather unsanitary acts with sandwiches; they also thought it wise to share their disgusting exploits with the world on YouTube. </li></ul><ul><li>The video became a viral hit as the number of views grew exponentially….and the national media picked up the story. </li></ul><ul><li>Dominos did respond. The employees were fired and a response video was posted apologizing for the employees behavior. </li></ul><ul><li>Dominos since has installed real-time social listening and monitoring software and has invested in social manager positions who are active online. </li></ul>Social Media 101: Social Media Disasters July 12, 2011 Source: <ul><li>Key Learnings: </li></ul><ul><li>Your employees represent your brand…so ensure they have been trained on how to use (and not use) social media. </li></ul><ul><li>Invest in real-time social media monitoring tools that track conversations and posts about your brand </li></ul>
  20. 20. Budget Airliner Ryanair responds to blogger’s post by calling him an idiot and a liar. <ul><li>Technically oriented blogger finds a programming glitch on Ryanair website and writes a blog post about it. </li></ul><ul><li>Ryanair staff respond via a comment on the blog calling the blogger a liar and an idiot among other things, not once, not twice but three times. </li></ul><ul><li>Then a few days later Ryanair release a statement: “Ryanair can confirm that a Ryanair staff member did engage in a blog discussion. It is Ryanair policy not to waste time and energy in corresponding with idiot  bloggers and Ryanair can confirm that it won’t be happening again. Lunatic bloggers can have the blogosphere all to themselves as our people are far too busy driving down the cost of air travel.” </li></ul><ul><li>The mass media picked up the story and no doubt it ended up hurting Ryanair’s brand </li></ul>Social Media 101: Social Media Disasters July 12, 2011 Source: <ul><li>Key Learnings: </li></ul><ul><li>Failing to deal with, or worse, dealing badly with negative online reputation can blow up in your face. Find ways to turn negatives into positives </li></ul><ul><li>All employees, including management, should be trained in external communications via social media. </li></ul><ul><li>Respond to potentially negative posts in a positive way and let the poster know what the company is doing to fix the problem. </li></ul>
  21. 21. United fails to respond to musician David Carrol, who then takes his complaint to YouTube via a music video <ul><li>Dave Carrol flew United Airlines with his band. His $3,500 guitar ended up broken at the hand of United employees, and the airline offered no compensation after repeated complaints by Carrol </li></ul><ul><li>He responded by creating a music video about the experience and posting it on YouTube. He blogged about it as well “ United Breaks Guitars Trilogy ”. The video went viral and was picked up by international media outlets. </li></ul><ul><li>United experienced very bad press from the video. Millions of airline travelers identified with Carroll’s experience. </li></ul>Social Media 101: Social Media Disasters July 12, 2011 Source: <ul><li>Key Learnings: </li></ul><ul><li>Failing to deal with customer complaints can lead to frustrated customers taking their cause to the social media, where often they find sympathetic readers/viewers. Social Media posts can quickly go viral….and brand reputation can be damaged. </li></ul><ul><li>When negative posts do happen, respond quickly and in a positive way. Let the poster know what the company is doing to fix the problem. </li></ul>
  22. 22. Additional Examples: “A Short History of Social Media Screw Ups” Social Media 101: Social Media Disasters July 12, 2011 Read the article online at Ad Age: Social Media Screw-ups: A Brief History: A Look at Some Big Missteps -- and What We Can Learn From Them See the presentation slides”
  23. 23. Bibliography Social Media 101: Social Media Disasters July 12, 2011 <ul><li>Live from Social Media Week: The Suxorz picks the worst social media moves of 2010 </li></ul><ul><li>6 painful social media screwups </li></ul><ul><li>5 Examples of Social Media Blunders and What to Learn From Them </li></ul><ul><li>How Not To Use Twitter: </li></ul><ul><li>Social Media Screw-ups: A Brief History </li></ul><ul><li>In Social Media, Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail </li></ul><ul><li>Five Hidden Secrets Of Social Media Failure </li></ul><ul><li>Social Media: The best and worst of 2009 </li></ul><ul><li>5 Social Media Lessons: What NOT To Do (note: these are lessons targeted at employees, not corporations) </li></ul>