THE PAGE GROUP always cautions its clients with respect to social media. Know why your going into social media, know what you need to invest in social media to be successful, and know your consumer and how they will use social media to communicate your brand story. The risks are enormous in social media, and companies need to understand that risk. If they understand the risk then they can staff, and support the programs to reduce that risk but along with that comes an investment that often companies are not willing to make.
To many companies follow the trail of others to engage in new technologies before they are ready. They don’t understand the medium. they don’t understand how the consumer is going to use the space. They don’t know if there is a connection with their brand and their consumer thru social media, and they just rush to be one of many who believe the hype.
Social media is a marketing strategy. You need to understand first how your consumer will use that space, and then you need to be sensitive to what you communicate thru that space. An investment is necessary, and attention needs to be paid to EVERY Post that is made. As in the McDonald’s example it can quickly become a firestorm of hate and negative comments and as we all know in todays communicative world often it only takes one negative comment to loose a consumer of your brand. So please understand the space you enter into before you begin entering that new world of marketing for your brands.
McDonald’s hit by social media disaster on Instagram
It has been a tough time for McDonald’s in the wake of its China food-safety scare, amongst other woes that throws it in the midst of a PR crisis. (Read also: Will McDonald’s rebranding plan be good enough?)
To add to its woes, it looks like its attempts to engage the public on Instagram have tanked. Its Instagram account for the US market, which has 3299 followers, is chock full of angry comments and even verbal abuse from Instagram users. While comments vary, it looks like most of the angry comments are centered around health concerns about McDonald’s products.
For example, users commented on one of its posts below when McDonald’s snapped a pic of its fries, calling it “fake potatoes”.
Other food posts also had users on a rant about how harmful the food is (see second post shown below).
Here’s a look at its Instagram account:
This situation went on as the company invested in sponsored ads on Instagram for its Bacon Clubhouse burger. Reported on Adweek, the ads appeared yesterday and although it had over 45,000 likes, many of its comments were rather negative.
According to the article, David Martinelli, digital marketing manager at McDonald’s said:
“While we are unable to provide specific details about our media strategies, we are always looking to engage with our guests and fans in fun and relevant ways in social media. Instagram allows us to share compelling and entertaining photos about our brand, food and more in unexpected and innovative ways.”
Interestingly, McDonald’s also has Instagram accounts in markets such as Malaysia and Australia. It also earlier ran a smaller campaign in Singapore for charity. A quick scan of both accounts showed little of the same backlash that its US account received.
Simon Kemp, regional managing partner at We Are Social said that the issue is not with the platform. “Brands such as McDonald’s generally evoke strong emotions and comments from consumers. If you are to advertise on these very much visual platforms, it has to be of value to the consumer.”
“If you are going to interrupt consumers, as in this case, you have to justify it with a reason. You need to add value to the consumer if not it would result in backlash.”