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When Social Media Does Not Go Quite To Plan

When Social Media Does Not Go Quite To Plan

Our World | On 16, Jan 2013

A few weeks ago, one of my colleagues wrote a fabulous piece on Our World called “The Name’s Bond” which detailed some facts that people may not have known about London and its influence on the Bond franchise… so what? I hear you cry. Well, as part of the article she was rather ‘gushing’ about Daniel Craig and his ample charms, which again is no great sin. Where it went slightly wrong was down to the one thing that should have ensured no mistakes… namely, our checking process. I was asked to proof and ‘sign off’, which I did, unfortunately the chap in the office that posted it online, thought it was from me – so it was initially posted in my name! I’ve never received so many ‘good on yer’ type comments from clients, suppliers and colleagues about ‘outing’ myself as an admirer of the aforementioned Daniel Craig. Red faces abound, we have now decided that the proofing process needs tweaking here, but history says that when social media doesn’t go to plan, it can be like reverse psychology and actually prove more positive than initially intended.

Not so Tweet

One of the best, recent examples would be when Waitrose invited people to Tweet “I shop at Waitrose because…” and got bombarded with some hilarious comments – clearly not the initial objective. Instead of generating lots of lovely, fluffy, positive PR they’ve had to take a bit of egg on their face. Interestingly the Waitrose case is a somewhat double sided as lots of people are saying that although it was a case of “you asked for it”, most of the tweets were humorous and actually re-enforced their brand position as a quality retailer. None of them were critical about service or quality and it generated huge amounts of free PR. So you could say it was actually good for them – a bit like our gaffe (?) – check out the Waitrose Tweets on the link as they are amusing (Waitrose actually tweeted a ‘thanks for making us smile’ message to its followers).

Another interesting one has to be about our friends at Ryanair when a disgruntled passenger Suzy McLeod complained on Facebook that she had been forced to pay €300 after forgetting to print off her family’s boarding passes. Within days the post had 350,000 ‘likes’ and nearly 18,000 supportive comments.

Whereas this would mortify the PR departments of most organisations and register as a PR disaster, Ryanair’s chief executive Michael O’Leary was typically unapologetic:

“We think Mrs McLeod should pay 60 euros for being so stupid”.

Obviously the contrary can happen once that ‘send’ button is pressed, wreaking untold damage to a company or individual’s reputation – so it is wise to check, double check and check again before sending your innocent message out to all. Otherwise, like me, you might just find yourself in love by proxy, with someone on the silver screen!

The real Chris Clarke!