Screening is of utmost importance in Social Media Marketing. Social media campaigns have a huge risk of blowing up in your face if you don’t set the necessary background before plunging headlong into the campaign. As a company one must be cognizant of the fact that the social media users as a whole are much more aware than the company and it is insanely difficult to fool them.
Another interesting aspect of social media is trolling. For example, if a social media conversation gets out of hand, companies often involve trolls to work the conversation in their favour. The problem with employing such tactics is that social media users are also quite wise to this. In the latest Xbox vs PlayStation debate, there were a number of users who were saying that PS4 is no match for the prowess of the Xbox One and that too in the forums of PlayStation. And their comments were very all encompassing and strong. Microsoft may or may not have been involved in this, but the point is these contributors were found out very soon and they were banned from the forum.
Most of the popular websites have crowd managed checks on trolling. For example, if someone posts a nonsensical comment on Amazon, it gets down voted very quickly and the comment goes to the end of the review search results. Similar for Wikipedia. Many companies try to modify what the Wikipedia pages say about their products. However, because of the large user base of Wikipedia, such modifications are removed quite quickly.
In Twitter and Facebook however, the screening is more damning. For example, Joan Rivers messaged on Facebook that the new iPhone is a “great achievement in design”. The only problem was that Joan Rivers had died of complications during throat surgery a week before. Time Magazine noted that “Joan Rivers Promotes iPhone 6 on Facebook From Beyond the Grave”. Another case in point was during the Cairo protests. Kenneth Cole, the boutique clothing firm tweeted:
“Millions are in uproar in #Cairo. Rumor is they heard our new spring collection is now available online at http://bit.ly/KCairo.”
There was widespread media outrage about this comment and soon, a new Twitter handle was created to ridicule Kenneth Cole (@KennethColePR). They have made tweets like:
“People from New Orleans are flooding into Kenneth Cole stores #KennethColeTweets”
Another example of social media direction gone wrong was seen when Wall Street bank JP Morgan invited twitter users to a senior executive using the hashtag #AskJPM. The firm expected that users will ask questions about the Twitter sale. Instead, users bombarded him with abuse. In a six hour period, more than 8000 tweets were sent with this hashtag with 2 out of 3 negative. The firm soon tweeted that: “Tomorrow’s Q&A is cancelled. Bad Idea. Back to the drawing board.”
The overall commandment for companies is – be careful about social media. While you may have the best intentions, the user community might hijack your campaign. And the most important rule is – never lie on the social network.