Written by Jennifer Dunphy Tuesday, October 23 2012
Our Twitter conversation continues... Last week we had the chance to look at some Twitter hits, and this week let’s continue by checking out campaigns that missed the mark. I also include my take on quantity versus quality in terms of tweeting and then finally, take-aways you can use to master the Twitterverse.
Campaigns That Missed The Ball
While there is much to be learned from the success of others, I feel that we can also learn a great deal from the failures of others. Here are a few examples of Twitter marketing campaigns that went wrong or didn’t quite make the cut.
Unfortunately for Nike, one of their recent Twitter campaigns actually became the first UK company to have a Twitter campaign banned.
Nike, which has lucrative sponsorship deals with the Manchester United and Arsenal soccer players, ran the Twitter campaign as part of a wider marketing push under the “Make It Count” advertising slogan.
A tweet posted by Manchester player Wayne Rooney, who has 4.37m followers, that received over 100 retweets said: "My resolution — to start the year as a champion, and finish it as a champion... #makeitcount gonike.me/makeitcount"
Jack Wilshere, a player for Arsenal, tweeted: "In 2012, I will come back for my club — and be ready for my country. #makeitcount.gonike.me/Makeitcount"
The mistake that Nike made was that these tweets were ads by soccer players that are sponsored by Nike and were not identified as ads, therefore misleading the soccer players’ followers. The Advertising Standards Authority investigated the campaign and found against Nike, stating that it was not clear that the tweets were advertisements and not personal endorsements for the brand.
Notably one of the biggest social media snafus of the year was the McDonald's Twitter epic fail. When McDonald's launched #McDstories on Twitter, the company's goal was to get customers to tell their favorite McDonald's experience, but the campaign backfired big time. Instead, consumers took to Twitter in a massive frenzy with nothing positive to say at all. Many people voiced horror experiences and joked about health and safety risks when eating McDonald's food. This is the tweet in which this #hashtag appeared:
Unfortunately for McDonald's, naysayers in the Twitterverse essentially tweetjacked the conversation and spun it into a negative discussion versus the positive one intended by McDonald's. By the time the fiasco made the news, brand sentiment raged out of control.
Lessons learned: Always be sure to explain what the #hashtag in your campaign means and in what context it is supposed to be used. Also, be sure to choose a #hashtag that is not so easy to take out of context, especially when you are such a large brand. Don’t open your brand up to exploitation. If a campaign is an ad, make sure that this is clear to your followers. No one wants to feel duped. And whatever you do, don’t go dark. Don’t be silent and hope that it will all blow over. This is social media. If you aren’t managing the conversation, someone else will, and it will likely not be in the best interest of your brand. Confront the situation head on, as unpleasant as it may be. You’ll be better off in the long run. I promise.
Quality vs. Quantity
With Twitter, and all of your social networks for that matter, think quality not quantity. Many people view their social media numbers as an indicator of their digital status or their social capital. Of course it is always nice to see that you have thousands of followers, but if they are not engaged, what is the actual value of those followers?
Did you know that you can buy influence on Twitter? Yup, and it’s actually much more common than you may think. Those seeking an ego boost have opted for purchasing fake followers and phony retweets. These followers and retweets, although they may temporarily boost your spirits, do nothing for your network. They are nothing more than fake profiles created by robots that will only retweet your posts to other fake robot accounts. It’s not just individuals that are buying influence; organizations are, in fact, buying fake followers as well, including both major candidates for the White House, numerous other politicians and dozens of celebrities. Seems kind of pointless if you ask me. If I am going to take the time to craft a message and send a tweet, I would like to know that there is at least someone home on the other end to receive it.
There are endless ways that you can build buzz and increase brand engagement, generate new followers and grow your brand presence utilizing Twitter. Always remember that this is a conversation, and it needs to be social. It’s not all about you on the Twitterverse. Be yourself and make sure to not just self-promote. You wouldn’t like talking to someone that only talks about themself, now would you? Make sure to engage your followers – mention them and retweet relevant tweets that you think your followers will gain benefit from.
Remember that a bad social media strategy can hurt passion for your brand, consumer engagement and customer loyalty, while a good social media strategy can not only increase those things, but it can also be the make-it or break-it win that takes your business to the next level.
What are your thoughts on creating Twitter campaigns that engage followers? What creative strategies has your company implemented to achieve success with Twitter? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
More social media advice from Jennifer Dunphy:
In the first part of Dunphy's crash course on Twitter, she provides helpful advice on when to tweet for maximum engagement and dissects three campaigns that got it right.
LinkedIn, "the Facebook for professionals," can be a huge asset to networking and your reputation as a business person. Dunphy provides easy-to-implement strategies, so you can present your best self online.
Worried about your SEO score? Dunphy warns not to discount the effect Google+ can have on your company's visibility. Luckily, she also explains how to maximize your Google+ page's impact.
Jennifer Dunphy, an accomplished sales and marketing executive, is currently the vice president of sales and marketing at Vayu Media. You can connect with Dunphy on the Vayu Media Blog, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+ and YouTube.