Social media marketing campaigns have gone wrong before, and Durex recently experienced a disaster of its own. Recently, Durex asked its customers what city should get Durex SOS condoms, which are supposed to be rushed to individuals through a smartphone app, according to the company’s website.
This marketing campaign went wrong thanks to pranksters. Instead of a major city such as London winning, the most votes went to Batman with 1,731 votes, which happens to be a conservative city in a Muslim province in Turkey that would not welcome the condoms.
Companies run this risk of such problems when they try to interact with their customers through social media like this. For instance, McDonald’s (NYSE:MCD) had problems with a Twitter campaign in 2012 when customers started tweeting snarky comments about the company. According to Bloomberg, McDonald’s shut down this campaign less than two hours after it had started.
Experts say that these problems happen when respondents are given too much control. Kevin King, global chairman of Edelman Digital, says to invite “open voting” is a big mistake.
Ben Foster, senior vice present of digital media for Ketchum public relation says that companies need to actually listen to what the public is saying. He also advocates using people to watch out for problem comments when it comes to social media because software can miss things.
Additionally, it is important how a company handles problems that can flare up very quickly. Nikon held a seemingly benign Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) campaign stating that ”A photographer is only as good as the equipment he uses, and a good lens is essential to taking good pictures!” The company quickly got slammed by photographers who felt insulted by the statement.
Social media marketing is not going away anytime soon, so it is important that companies learn not only how to use it, but to use it in innovative ways to connect with customers without running into problems.
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