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Making the right moves

30th November 2011     |     Print this article     |     Share this article

As more and more companies see the massive impact of social media on their audiences, they are naturally tempted to give it a go themselves.

Indeed, if you listen to some of the experts, companies really can’t afford to avoid having a social media presence nowadays….

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That may well be true, but there is a big difference between doing it and doing it well – the potential pitfalls are many and dangerous.

And the resulting humiliation can be swift and very public.

Recently, we have seen various examples of social media going bad:

  • Qantas launching their poorly timed #qantasluxury promotion, just days after the whole fleet had been grounded.
  • Nissan faced a backlash after it emerged that the winner of a $20k Nissan Micra was a close friend of the competition organiser.
  • Clothing chain GASP attracted much negative publicity following an email exchange with a disgruntled customer that went viral.
  • And going back a bit further, who can forget the furore surrounding Kraft’s ill-fated iSnack 2.0 naming competition for Vegemite?

In hindsight, the fact these activities came unstuck may seem obvious, but presumably at the time, they all seemed like a good idea.

But what these campaigns all seem to have shared is a lack of foresight. A lack of someone saying “hang on a minute, what if…”

In the game of chess, the masters are generally so successful because they plan many moves ahead, anticipating what might happen and ensuring they are able to counter it.

Brands planning a social media campaign would do well to follow the approach of the chess grand masters and apply greater forward thinking to their social media activities.

To anticipate what is the worst that could happen and how they might deal with it. To be proactive, transparent and honest.

Get it wrong and the fall-out could be severe, but get it right and it could earn the brand a new level of respect amongst its audience.

How a brand behaves when in the social media spotlight, especially when under pressure, is likely to shape future consumer perceptions of that brand.

Does your brand have a plan to deal with negative reactions to its social media strategy?

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Comment

  1. My grandfather taught me chess and it has been an invaluable lesson that I am always grateful for, the “what if…” question is certainly underused by some. Nice posting

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