I just LOVE when companies make huge social media mistakes. It entertains me so!
…as long as it wasn’t me. HA! As if!!
Ahhh, Murphy’s Law – the idea that if something can go wrong – it WILL!
For example, I believe the National Rifle Association (NRA) probably had a tweet planned to encourage audience engagement – a major positive to businesses using social media. The organization probably thought the tweet asking about weekend plans would lead to lots of retweets, posters responding and tagging the national firearm organization. What they HADN’T anticipated, or noticed, was that just a few hours earlier the nation had learned of a mass shooting in an Aurora,CO movie theater that left 12 people dead. Now the innocent looking tweet takes on new, dark and melancholy meaning.
McDonald’s is a major world-wide brand. The PR masterminds at the fast food mega-giant SURELY know how to run a PR campaign. So when McDonald’s asked Twitter fans to use the hashtag #McDStories to tell tales of their great experiences with McDonald’s, the last thing they expected were “tales from the crypt”. From laughable stories about horrible customer service to serious health claims of food poisoning, McDonald’s was rocked by the feedback they received.
From timing to contingency plans in case the engagement and conversations you’d planned on don’t go your way – it’s important to keep in mind that things CAN and WILL go wrong.
Now had the NRA social media or PR associate gone over the scheduled tweets for the day and checked the news that morning – perhaps that misstep would have been alleviated. As for McDonald’s – well, when asking millions of social media users to use a hashtag to talk about your brand – you have to know that some smarty pants is going to take it to another level. They quickly pulled the hashtag but the damage was done.
I believe it would be smart to not only think of what could go wrong when creating plans, but also having other sets of eyes to perhaps look it over as well. Having a crisis plan together would also help when things DO go wrong. With an already set plan together, it won’t be so stressful when the carefully designed ship starts to sink.
Now rock on social media artisans…ROCK. ON.