Tag Archives: Twitter

McDonalds – crossed a line or being savvy?

The big story that has been on the North America airwaves has been the incredible story of 3 women who disappeared for years had finally been found. Kidnapped and held hostage for a combined 30 years. News is trickling out to the despicable conditions these women were forced to endure. A tragedy for the victims, we must not forget that. Because of this reality, there are a lot of mixed reactions to McDonald’s reaction to getting a plug from the now famous eye witness interview. See below…

Right off the bat…around 9 seconds in…he mentions he was eating his McDonalds when everything started. The video has gone viral and Mr Ramsey has been doing the speaking tour. Ah the beauty of watching someone’s 15 minutes of fame. Even on his interview with Anderson Cooper on CNN, McDonalds comes up again – click here for video. In reaction to all this free advertising, the folks at the golden arches decided to go to social media to chime in.

McDonalds hails their new spokesperson

McDonalds hails their new spokesperson

Was this appropriate or taking advantage of a terrible situation? There has been much discussion as to whether or not McDonalds crossed a line. Unfortunately when it comes to communications and public relations, any event or news is seen as an opportunity to push one’s message. While the saying – there is no such thing as bad publicity – might have been true decades ago, when the message could be “controlled,” it has some limits in the current communications environment. Click here for a good piece on this axiom. For McDonalds the situation is not about anything they have done or been part of, but they are being involved in the story by a witness. So should they be “taking advantage” of this? I say…yes.

Maybe their tweet should not have included “we’ll be in touch” that gives the impression they are thinking of how to exploit Mr Ramsey for promotional needs. But the fact they tweeted about this and mentioned Mr Ramsey is to be expected. Why not? They are capturing some of the discussions and grabbing some exposure. Of course, and maybe they will, rather than insinuate some “reward” for Mr Ramsey, why not use this opportunity to call attention to domestic violence or violence against women. Make a donation, public or quietly to some charity. Could this also be seen as exploiting a situation for publicity? Sure. But at least it would also be doing some good.


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Be good to your customers…especially in the world of social media

There is a story about Lego responding to a client’s letter that has gone viral. The basic premise – a Lego fan builds a set, against his father’s wishes he takes the completed set out and ends up losing a mini-figure. His father suggests he writes to Lego, which he does, and Lego responds by sending him a replacement as well as extra Legos. Great story. And good marketing buzz for Lego. Not only did they make an even bigger fan of the 7 year old, but they got a tremendous buzz about their actions – outlets from Huffington Post to Yahoo! wrote about the story.

Blue Ninja!

Be the ninja of good customer care

So what is the moral of the story? Take care of you customers…d’uh. Okay that is the obvious. But what this really shows is the greater importance good customer care takes with the rise of social media. Before blogs, Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin and other social outlets, the above story might have been picked up by a local newspaper reporter as filler. Good story, but buried in the business section of the Sunday edition. With social there is long tail as well as a wider reach. The originally story came out earlier this year, I just read about it and I am now blogging about it. Long tail.

Of course this sword can cut both ways. Have a bad customer care story and that could hang around your neck for much longer than it took to resolve the issue. Or if your fried chicken actually seems to be a brain or a kidney- aka what happened with KFC – click here, but be forewarned it isn’t too “appetizing” to view. Same holds true for Dell that dealt with huge headaches, both in terms of recall as well as image when one of their laptop batteries caught on fire and was videoed and spread like…ahem…wildfire on the web. This was the catalyst for Dell placing more emphasis on social listening.

These examples demonstrate the importance of being much more in tune with customer service and listening to what your customers are saying, and doing. Social media has given everyone a megaphone. Regardless of how loud or quiet that megaphone is, it is out there. End of the day customers will always vote with their wallets, but now they have another way to vote – with social media. One could argue that when it was only with a wallet, you could always expect to find another “sucker” for your products. The reality was the wallet voting is buried in the aggregate. Social media makes the vote personal and pointed. Take a cue from Lego and always treat your customer well – provide outrageous service and it will come back to you in spades. And take another cue from Dell – make social media key to your customer listening and service.

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Filed under Consumer Product Goods, Current Events, Customer Service, Social media

Burger King – the double edge sword of social media and being hacked

During Presidents Day were subjected to who was the greatest President (my ranking – Lincoln, FDR, Washington, Jefferson and TR), were bombarded by deals on cars and watching a large brand’s Twitter account getting hacked! All good fun. Well not really for Burger King…


Slightly embarrassing for the burger giant. Of course it also drew a tremendous amount of traffic to the handle, but some accounts it added 5000 followers in the first 30 minutes it was hacked! It also drove all kinds of news and discussions across all media – I was listening to 98.5 The Sports Hub spend a good 5 minutes discussing it today. Clearly Burger King got some unintentional bump from this hack. But based on some of what was being said in cyber world it was mostly ridiculing the King!

My favorite from @jorcohen“Is the Hamburglar behind this?

This incident is a great reminder for all those who are plunging into social media (which you should be doing!) keep an eye on your social channels. But also have a plan in place in case you do get hacked.

  • Shut down the hacked account quickly: Hacking is not a new thing, but when your social channel is hacked it becomes viral and public very quickly…and embarrassing! You need to have ways to ensure you can shut down an offensive tweet or facebook post quickly. What adds complexity is the 24-7 aspect of social media.
  • Action plan while you are containing the hack: While are you trying to control the situation, you need to leverage your other social media channels to communicate YOUR message, ensure that you are dealing with the hacking and that you will be back to usual in all channels.
  • Your message after the hack is controlled: Once the channel is back in your control, what will you communicate? Burger King was simple in their reaction – Interesting day here at BURGER KING®, but we’re back! Welcome to our new followers. Hope you all stick around! – Good reaction, addressing the issue and acknowledging that they gained followers due to the hack. Here is another idea, Tweet out a coupon for a free french fry or whopper or soda. Use the opportunity to drive some traffic to your stores…make lemonade out of the lemons.

Hacking will always be around. Now with social media, the hackers have a great place to target where  your brand can be quickly embarrassed and made to look less than professional! Be prepared, have a reaction plan and think of ways to turn the situation into a positive.



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Filed under Current Events, IT, Marketing, Social media

Mobile payments – sh*t about to get real


The mobile wallet is not something new. Companies like PayPal allowing for payment via your mobile app, or square wallet who uses NFC technology and the likes of Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts with apps that allow you to pay directly from your smart phone. Our smart phone is quickly replacing our wallet as the most important personal accoutrement we have. Add to this apps such as Lemon Wallet or Passbook and there are very few things that our wallet can “own” outright compared to our phones. Now comes a new way of paying that moves us out of being tethered to our smartphones and truly embracing any and all mobile devices – the ability to pay via Twitter.

Amex and Twitter have partnered to offer some limited pay via twitter capabilities. Yikes. This opens a whole new world of mobile payments. No longer are you dependent on your device, just need access to Twitter. You could pay through a web enabled watch…like the rumored Apple watch! Or your tablet, your television or gasp…laptop!! It will be interesting to see if this takes off with Twitter. Amex is clearly at the forefront with pushing the envelope, they also try to tie in their gift cards to Foursquare and vendor check ins.

Our world is a changing…

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Filed under IT, Smart Phone, Social media, Tablet, Technology, Wireless

Twitter flips off Linkedin

Okay I used another headline for inspiration on my title – Twitter Gives LinkedIn The Bird (LNKD). An interesting decision by Twitter. The basics are that you cannot use Twitter to push content to LinkedIn and populate the “share an update” part of your LinkedIn account. The reverse will continue to be feasible – if you post on LinkedIn you can push that to Twitter. Clearly Twitter wants to be the platform and the vehicle for content creation, it does not want to share that content repository.

I guess someone doesn’t like peanut butter and chocolate…

Rumors are that both companies could not agree on an advertising deal or that Tweeter got spooked at the password hacking that struck LinkedIn. Whatever the reason, I think this is a gamble for Twitter. The relationship between Twitter and LinkedIn gave it a position of strength vis a vis other social platforms…namely Facebook. The “Whats on your mind” feature on Facebook is a great vehicle to communicate with our network…people we want to be in our circle. The power of tying LinkedIn and Twitter is that via Twitter you could a larger public audience while still tying back to your professional circles. This make Twitter/LinkedIn a stronger social vehicle for businesses and professional communications.

To me this tie in gave Twitter a more grown up angle. Now that the tie has been broken, there is an opportunity for someone to fill that void. A twitter like app from LinkedIn? I understand that Twitter wants to validate its existence by hosting more content and being able to do all the wonderful data mining that allows (click here for a story about the partnership and why it made sense). But, cutting the cord with the adult in the social media room is a gamble.

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Twitter gets to the next level – Obama takes questions via Twitter.

The President of the United States is used to answering questions whether they be from reporters, other politicians, talking heads and the general public…but doing it via social media and Twitter is a first. For those who are still resisting the power of such tools as Twitter this should be another indication that Social Media is not a fad! After having leveraged Social Media extensively during his campaign – SMS, Facebook, Twitter – Obama is showing that he is open to leveraging and maximizing such tools as Twitter.

What is fantastic about the White House being open to Twitter questions, the fact they are unfiltered. Anyone can ask questions, with the hash tag – #AskObama – and anyone can search the same hash tag to see what the questions that are being posted. Of course there will be more questions than Obama could possibly answer, but the audience will also know instantly if Obama is dodging difficult questions. A good move towards openness.

Another benefit? Obama and his reelection team can start leveraging these new Twitter fans and detractors when they start targeting their re-election campaigns.

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Best Buy and social listening – customer service part II

So in my last post I did a little venting about my experience with the Best Buy customer service. After sitting on the phone for over 45 minutes and no resolution, I actually went to the Best Buy location and walked around until I found the appropriate folks to assist me. Now I will say that the car installers (I was having a radio installed) were professional and very courteous. But even they told me that they had informed the folks manning the customer service desk that if I called, to inform me that the part I had ordered was in and I could bring my car in for service. That would have been nice…if they picked up the phone!

My next option…being a good social marketer…was to vent directly to Best Buy via twitter: @BestBuy @BestBuyCMO. Again to Best Buy’s credit, @Coral_BestBuy reached out to me via Twitter. I shared my experience and was told the situation would be looked into and my complaints relayed to the Best Buy in question. I will wait to see if the suggestions will be taken to heart, however I at least have some closure that my complaints were heard and addressed. This is a simple example of why companies and consumer brands must take social marketing seriously – meaning don’t simply give this job to someone who already has a full time gig or simply look for a stop gap solution aka an intern.

B2B companies must not look at this and say “well Best Buy is a B2C company and need to be more aware of this channel…” Wrong answer. B2B must be jut as tuned in to the social channels as Best Buy. For example, I recently attended a Gartner conference on supply chain….yawn for some of us, very exciting for supply chain folks like myself! What struck me was that Gartner was very lax on their tweeting from the event, really did not seem to have given it a thought. Why does this matter? They were not influencing the discussion on Twitter, not responding to what attendees, such as myself, were tweeting and discussing. Rather than promoting a Gartner tweet as the “go to” source for updates from the conference, folks were promoting individuals (not affiliated with Gartner) to get insight into what was happening. Now, that is a good thing – independent attendees giving their thoughts, but Gartner needed to have a voice in the conversation. Had they been more aware and more active with what was being said, they could have created a residual effect and thought promotion from the content they were disseminating during the conference. While I did not see anything negative being tweeted, Gartner lost an opportunity to push content and thinking via social. Missed opportunity.

Kudos to Best Buy, they understand the importance of watching the social channels. We still have a long way to go before more companies recognize the importance of this channel.

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Filed under Social media, Supply Chain, Technology