If you read my blog, you know I’m a fan of McDonald’s (especially their coffee) and have had positive experiences with the brand via social media. While I wouldn’t consider myself a mega fan, when a brand does right by me, I like to do right by the brand.
That’s why when I read about McDonald’s #McFail, my heart saddened a little.
My initial reaction was that it could have happened to any brand. Launching a marketing campaign on an open (and vocal) platform is always going to have the risk of attracting criticism and naysayers (or in marketing speak, “detractors”). Sure they could have handled things better, but sometimes that’s just the way the french fry gets fried. People eventually move on and forget about it.
But when I read about their ”Hail Mary” attempt to put a bandage over the failed #McDstories hashtag campaign with a NEW hashtag campaign, #littlethings, I started to see things differently.
The problem with #littlethings, and even with #McDStories, is that McDonald’s didn’t consider the little things in the first place:
- Hashtag-sharing is a no-no, no matter the brand or campaign. In a post about Twitter chats, Nathan Burgess (with the brainstorming help of myself and Paige Holden) listed some worst practices, including using a hashtag without researching if someone else is using it and hijacking a hashtag. Sound a “little” familiar?
- If you want to start a positive conversation, prompt positive engagement. What I mean by that is don’t soapbox, rather ask for positive brand engagement with limited room open for interpretation. While #littlethings was more on the mark, the sentiment had already been torched by the negativity surrounding #McDstories.
- Realize you have zero control. As I mentioned earlier, once you put something out on the socnets, you can forget about “control” or “messaging.” That’s where McD’s went wrong. When it comes to social media marketing, nothing is 100% predictable, no matter how carefully you plan or word something. But if they wanted to have some resemblance of control, they should have hosted it on a more controlled platform, such as Facebook where you can outline page guidelines.