Over on ZDNet, there’s a new story about the Nine Worst Social Media Fails of 2009… so far. Illustrating everything from companies trying to capitalize on current events (sorry FOX television) to trying to make a “viral” video (that’s just wrong, Quizno’s), the brand damage from each campaign is likely fairly short-lived. But the lessons are lasting.
Author Jennifer Leggio opined:
What is to be learned here? Well, don’t lead with tools. Don’t think that your brand is above the risks and backlash of social media. When plotting a social media campaign, truly think about what you want your end result to be, and fully examine everything that could possibly go wrong. Word-of-mouth marketing is a fantastic thing when you know how to leverage it. But if you lose control of your brand, the disasters are almost endless. Let these brands’ failures be a lesson.
I agree that you never, ever, ever lead with tools. Nor should you ever think your brand above risks in social media. I don’t agree with the “lose control” statement, only because if you’re “plotting a social media campaign” you must engage in your brand’s authentic manner. Any marketer letting an agency (or internal resources) stray away from the brand’s values and promise (I suppose the “lose control” statement applies here) is just begging for trouble, as illustrated by Quizno’s.
The bottom line is this: social media is a channel that requires more diligence than most, simply because of the reach. If you screw up, you can’t hide. So keep that in mind as you’re looking to get into social media.
No one loves the power of word of mouth more than I. But it can absolutely leave a bad taste if poorly contrived or executed.