Looking for an example of a bad campaign strategy? Look no farther than McDonald’s Twitter campaign that was launched in January 2012. The company wanted to focus on promoting that the chain bought fresh produce from farmers. Shortly after their Twitter campaign started, the fast-food chain was forced to pull down a social media campaign it had launched on Twitter using the sponsored hashtag #McDStories. McDonald’s was looking to promote the quality of their ingredients. The first hashtag they used was #MeetTheFarmers, and it started off okay.
However, then they switched to #McDStories, hoping fans would share positive experiences. But, the tag became a way for animal activists and less-than-satisfied diners to air their criticisms. McDonald’s quickly pulled down the promoted hashtag, but it still continues. Additionally, there is also a new hashtag that has grown popular, #McFail. The new hashtag is being used by people who are discussing the social media campaign’s mess. Lesson learned: social media marketing: It can backfire quickly and spectacularly.
I guess there are a few things we can learn from it. A campaign should have a clear strategy as to what you want to achieve beyond engagement. And a campaign should not assume that people who like and use your brand are going to go to Twitter to promote you or talk positively about your products. It is odd that I guess McDonald’s failed campaign taught us that you cannot think consumers use the product/brand don’t assume that they are going to take time out from their busy day to follow you and Tweet how good it is to others.
It also made me realize the importance of having a social media manager that can respond to the problem immediately. The longer a company takes to respond to a problem, the more damage it can to do the company and their relationship with their customers.