The Abuses and Misuses of Social Media PR: McDonald’s Hashtag Mistake
by Ryan Didsbury on 02/02/2012
It has become the norm these days to have the latest news available at our fingertips. With an ever increasing number of Americans using smart phones, currently 35 percent according to a Pew Internet Project study, news is available almost instantaneously through social media apps like Twitter or Facebook.
The use of social media has become second nature to most smart phone users and helps fulfill the need for immediate up-to-the-minute news. The increased use of social media outlets as a source of news has also resulted in a public relations nightmare for some celebrities and brands.
Think Before you Tweet
Our parents have told us many times to think before we speak. This common piece of advice can be directly translated to the world of social media and tweeting: think before you tweet. With a limit of 140 characters, many find it easy to tweet about anything from their morning routine to what they had for dinner. How often do we put thought into what we are tweeting? How will our followers react?
Many brands have had social media campaigns go horribly wrong in the last few months. Most recently, McDonald’s started a campaign to gain customer feedback with the hashtag #McDStories, originally posted as #MeettheFarmers but then changed later that day. What was supposed to be an opportunity for customers to provide their feedback about McDonald’s use of quality ingredients turned into a backlash at the company by animal rights supporters and disgruntled restaurant patrons. McDonald’s social media director, Rick Wion, in a response to an article in Forbes stated that “Within that two-hour window from launch to pull down of #McDStories, the number of tweets about it jumped from a peak of about 1600 but then fell off to only a few dozen.”
With any social media campaign there is always the risk of negative feedback. How do you feel McDonald’s handled this social media disaster? Do you think they thought about the ramifications of their hashtag before posting it?
Photo source: CMG0220