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Social media mistakes are great lessons too
March 20, 2010|BlatheringsMarketingsocial networking

Social media mistakes are great lessons too

It’s easy to find the success stories, and everyone likes to point out, look at, and use examples where the implementation is top notch. It’s equally as important however, to look at the complete and utter failures. Not everyone is going to be able to pull off what Victoria’s Secret did with Pink, or Coke, Redbull, Pringles and many others, so take a look at what not to do.

The latest brand to go out in a blaze of glory on Facebook is Nestle. It started out innocent enough with a simple request to their fans to not use their logo or portions of it when they comment on the wall. Unfortunately they also stated they would delete said comments.

To repeat: we welcome your comments, but please don’t post using an altered version of any of our logos as your profile pic — they will be deleted.

Okay, it’s pretty easy to see where this is going, but the degree at which it escalated seemed a bit….. off. I admit I don’t follow Nestle, I have no emotional investment in the brand, and don’t really care, so the amount of venom being poured into the page seemed an intarwebs sized overreaction. Then I figured out why.

Nestle is being severely scrutinized for their sourcing of palm oil which is used in the KitKat bar and other products. According to Greenpeace, they are destroying Rain Forests and running the Orangutan to extinction with their selection of less than green suppliers. Okay, now I get it, and you know what? The moderator from Nestle should have been able to see this coming a mile off.

To make matters worse, the Nestle page admin went to break just about every PR and customer relations rule imaginable, and began being snarky and condescending. Doh! They made this mess all by themselves, and for the last 24 hours have been assaulted by everyone with a keyboard. This xkcd comic sums it up nicely. Here are a few of their remarks:

Nestle: Thanks for the lesson in manners. Consider yourself embraced. But it’s our page, we set the rules, it was ever thus.

Nestle: Oh please .. it’s like we’re censoring everything to allow only positive comments.

I know it’s easy to sit back and have the benefit of not being in their shoes. I mean, it has to piss them off that people are altering the KitKat logo to read Killer, but that’s the kind of stuff you are forced to deal with as a brand, especially as one as large as Nestle, and doubly so since they are accused of some pretty vile dealings. Rubbing salt in the wound of some pretty irate and volatile fans, while extremely fun to watch, was about as close to 1005 wrong as you can get.

The thing to take away from this event is while the comments made by Nestle are pure awesome, the “Consider yourself embraced.” bit borders on brilliance, but once it spirals out of control into the seventh level of social hell, there ain’t no comin’ back.

I doubt this will do any real damage to the company or it’s bottom line however. It may be that it’s a catalyst for a few people to become more aware of some of things they are doing on a corporate level, but they only have 91,000 +/- fans, and that’s nowhere near the millions of some other brands pages, and that’s not enough to make them cancel this years junket to some crazy expensive resort.

Nestle was never going to be the next super-star of the social media world, but they sure managed to become instantly famous for this blunder, and for this we owe them a hearty “Thanks!”

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