4 social media marketing disasters

Social media is becoming an increasingly important marketing tool for firms of every size. As the world moves online and an increasing proportion of business takes place digitally, your firm needs to ensure that it is utilising tools like social media to their full potential.

As our recent article on social media successes demonstrated, a well thought-out digital campaign can yield impressive results. But a large number of businesses have found themselves in the middle of a digital disaster after botched social media marketing campaigns.

There are numerous reasons for this; a lack of understanding of the ‘rules’ of social media is one of the most common. The nature of social networking and other similar media means that these poorly executed campaigns can be far more damaging than an offline mistake.
Many businesses are still getting to grips with social media. Here are some of the most notable disasters of recent times.

Honda learns about disclosure

When launching a new product, the Crosstour, Honda decided to give fans a sneak preview of the design by posting photographs on their Facebook page. The fans were sadly unimpressed, and the page was soon covered with a slew of negative comments.

One loudly proclaimed how much he loved the new design, saying he “would get this car in a heartbeat.” It did not take fans long to realise that this love voice of positivity was, in fact, Honda’s product manager.

Customer engagement is good, and Honda could have benefited from addressing the comments head on. But by resorting to deception, the company quickly attracted the ire of fans.

Habitat gets caught spamming

Furniture retailers Habitat were an early adopter of Twitter. But, in an effort to drum up a bit of interest in their products, they found themselves on the wrong side of spamming rules.

To try to increase their exposure, a Habitat marketing employee began appending ads to ‘trending topics’ in the hope that they would appear when users searched for popular keywords. But Twitter users (a force to be reckoned with at the best of times) saw this as spam and reported it to moderators. Habitat ended up having to issue an apology.

Twitter provides a great way for firms to communicate directly with their customer base. But it is vital that you learn the rules of the platform in order to avoid making embarrassing mistakes.

Employees fall like Domino’s

Last year, two employees filmed themselves flouting hygiene rules in an American branch of Domino’s Pizza. They then decided that it would be a good idea to upload the video to Youtube. It quickly became a phenomenon; the video was viewed thousands of times, Domino’s suffered enormous financial losses, and the employees were arrested.

While this was not an error on the part of Domino’s marketing department, it perfectly illustrates the potentially destructive power of social media. As well as engaging with customers on these services, you should monitor them for mentions of your brand in order to nip disasters like these in the bud.

Rentokil are nowhere to be found

Pest control firm Rentokil recently launched a Twitter profile, and began sparking up conversation with other users. Soon after, though, the firm published a press release with which members of the scientific community took issue. One prominent British user repeatedly asked Rentokil for clarification – but silence soon descended on their Twitter page. Of course, their silence was eyed with suspicion across the Twittersphere.

It is inevitable that you will sometimes face difficult questions from other social media users. The worst thing you can do is ignore them. Instead, you should tackle them head on in an amicable, professional manner.

And a happy ending

Of course, while some hapless firms flounder in a social media quagmire, others deftly use the technology to their advantage.

Phone company O2 is a case in point. They employ several staff solely to monitor social networks for users experiencing problems with O2 products or services. They respond quickly to these individuals, using the same method. Finally, they often follow up at a later date to ensure that the problem has been solved. Customers therefore have their issues resolved quickly, and end up with a positive impression of O2’s service.

Social media has immense power – but this can be a power for good or ill, depending on your point of view. If you are to harness its potential in order to create positive results for your business, you should try to learn from the mistakes of others. Learn the rules before you play, and treat other users with respect. This will help you to guarantee social media success.

Taken from: http://www.simplybusiness.co.uk/knowledge/articles/2010/04/2010-04-23-four-social-media-marketing-disasters/

Charities turn to social media for invention

It’s not an easy time to be a charity but many of them are turning to social media to connect with potential donors. Monty Munford reports on a growing trend.

In these days of straitened budgets, few people welcome the sight of a High Street filled with an over-aggressive army of charity collectors. Fortunately, innovation in the digital and social media sectors is helping charities to raise money in other ways.

Givey, launched almost a year ago alongside the Government’s Giving White Paper, allows people to give to charities using SMS and Twitter. Hundreds of charities have signed up to the scheme which provides them with a ‘Givey Tag’ that doubles up as a Twitter and SMS hashtag.

Donors sign up to Givey and link it to their PayPal account. Then they simply key in the amount they want to give and who they want to give it to and the money is then collected through that account. The donor they receives a return Tweet or SMS thanking them for their donation.

Other charities significantly older than Givey are also using social media to appeal to their audience and new donors. Animal welfare charity the RSPCA was formed in 1824 and is funded entirely by donations.

It recently launched its AnimalNation Facebook ‘pledge’ app over the weekend of April 28-29th to kick off RSPCA Week that aims to raise awareness of animal welfare.

During the campaign the RSPCA gave people the opportunity to publicly show their support for the RSPCA’s five key animal welfare pledges via the charity’s Facebook page.

Supporters had the opportunity to explore sensitive and priority issues such as animal euthanasia, animals used for experiments, welfare standards for farm animals and responsible pet ownership.

Moreover they could ask questions via Facebook to Gavin Grant, the company’s CEO, and talk to RSPCA staff in locations as remote as Malawi. This campaign was also backed up by the ubiquitous Twitter hashtag as well as content on YouTube.

Social media in the charity sector is also giving rise to a new trend that is unlikely appeal to over-excited chuggers and that is ‘slacktivism’. This that requires little effort but can be very effective if the so-called slacktivist tweets, signs petitions and shares charity concerns across Twitter and Facebook. According to the agency behind the RSPCA campaign this was a particularly key element in the creation of the AnimalNation app.

Other companies are using videogames to connect charities with potential audiences. PlayMob has done this by in-game virtual goods. Each time a virtual good with a charity connection is purchased, a donation is collected for the charity.

It costs nothing for charities to sign up to the GiverBoard platform, with a revenue share on each transaction between the charity and developer, with a small admin fee going to PlayMob.

As these virtual goods cost almost nothing to create, PlayMob is apparently working with developers to channel some of this revenue back to real world causes. The company works with another Facebook game Magicats where virtual cats help to raise funds for Flora Internationals’ Big Cats projects in South America.

Last and not least, major clothing brand Diesel recently teamed up with the Dubit platform to launch its Only The Brave Foundation.

After flying to Mali the companies produced an online virtual 3D Malian village to ‘enhance the effectiveness of marketing activities and real-life interaction with the village’… and obviously to raise the profile of the Foundation.

So while these are tough times for charities, there is nothing like necessity being the mother of invention. It would appear social media is certainly helping that invention and may completely transform the way we give to charity, although for now don’t ignore that collection tin, charities need us more than ever.

Taken from: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/social-media/9246729/Charities-turn-to-social-media-for-invention.html