Screening & Social Media Marketing

The company marketing in the social media sphere is bound to be subjected to screening from customers when it engages with them. In conventional marketing, there is asymmetry of information and the marketing manager can employ signalling where the company dictates the terms to the customer but screening creates a very transparent playing field. Screening can be done by the customer in several ways, one of the ways is to ask the brand uncomfortable questions on more facts such as ‘how many children do you employ in your plants ?’ or voice out your concerns regarding the brand usage when the product does not deliver what it promises such as one concern could be that the product got spoiled in lesser time than it promises on the packaging. The social media marketer who is steering the campaign needs to objectively answer all questions to a satisfactory level and convince the customer that the brand is delivering to its promise . This conversation with the social media marketer wherein all concerns of the customer are addressed and active engagement is achieved will be the key factors that will define the success of the campaign.

If a company is not ready to withstand screening and has got something to hide then it should probably not be on social media. Some brands who were not ready and still went ahead have learnt it the hard way. Popular brands have also been victims of screening. A case in point is McDonald’s: McDonalds created the hashtag #McDstories with a purpose of promoting stories of its customers having a good time at McDonald’s. But the campaign backfired as it spiralled into a negative campaign about McDonald’s. Some sample tweets are:

– One time I walked into McDonalds and I could smell Type 2 diabetes floating in the air and I threw up. #McDStories (viaTwitter)

 These #McDStories never get old, kinda like a box of McDonald’s 10 piece Chicken McNuggets left in the sun for a week (via the LA Times)


The marketing manager should get his team in a room and brainstorm. It is important for the marketing team to foresee any challenges in terms of customer requests and feedback that can be obtained through the campaign. The social media campaign should be able to actively engage its customers by dynamically meeting the request of its customers and building up on its followers.

Two major ground roles need to be ruthlessly followed for the success of a social media campaign. Firstly,  the campaign has to achieve critical mass by targeting the early adopters who will like and further promote the post. This networking effects will help in really making the remaining people feel left out and craving to be a part of the engagement and just to be able to view the content everybody is talking about. This will help to propagate the content and get more customers into the engagement.Secondly, the customers should not feel mislead when they know the purpose of the campaign. Otherwise , they may start talking negative about the product.


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