Two examples of recent social media campaigns that are now famous on the web are McDonalds and Waitrose – although perhaps not for the reasons their originators might initially have hoped.
Inviting responders to complete the Twitter statement “I love shopping at Waitrose because…” brought Waitrose replies such as “my butler has a week off”, “I hate poor people” and “Clarissa’s pony will not eat Asda straw”. Similarly McDonald’s campaign brought responses about stomach complaints, type 2 diabetes and questions from PETA (the charity People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) into the mix.
Waitrose’s good-humoured response to their campaign may have helped perception that they are an upmarket brand that does not take itself overly seriously. That said, the idea that all publicity is good publicity seems simplistic, and the McDonald’s campaign was rapidly shut down by the company.
So the important factors here seem to be a full understanding that opening social media channels means a continual two way stream of real time communication with everyone who wants to sign up to interact with you, be them happy customers, indifferent customers, interested observers and potentially your competition. This requires a thorough understanding of your brand and its perception beforehand and your audience, perhaps through independent market research. It also requires a dedicated resource, either internal or external, to be able to respond continually, professionally and very quickly to the ongoing stream of communication.
Social media used correctly remains a powerful mass communication tool. One imaginative use of it is by the coach firm National Express, which operates on a franchise system whereby their coaches, often provided by third party suppliers, are fully rebranded as National Express. The ability to tweet their customer services team and even MD openly with any complaints applies a constant pressure on their franchisees to deliver a high quality of service and maintain their brand image.
Whatever you plan to use it for, be it Twitter, Facebook or mobile communication Novacom are well placed to help with 25 years of integrated and digital marketing experience to bring to the table.