Social Media: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Sara Rassi

Social media provides one of the best opportunities to reach potential customers, resolve customer complaints, and actively engage in conversation around your industry, company, and products.

The GoodGood

A few companies stand out on social media. These companies have found their social voice and created interesting content that connects with their fans, or they go above and beyond to provide customer service.

An interesting social media case study is that of the Maersk Group. The container shipping conglomerate has huge followings across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and more.

Maersk focuses on engagement. The company even has a webpage dedicated to its social dashboardthat spells out its philosophy: “Social media is about communication, not marketing. It’s about engaging, not pushing. And social media is definitely not just about the media side.”

Another great example is ComcastCares on Twitter. A team of customer service representatives that focus on resolving customer problems manages the account. Frank Eliason founded the ComcastCares account during Twitter’s infancy. He and his team set the bar for customer service in social media.

Other companies have taken a different tactic by mixing humor and good content to delight fans. Taco Bell recently created a “birthday cake” for Indianapolis Colts long snapper Matt Overton. Oreo also scored big with its famous “You can still dunk in the dark” photo tweeted out during the 2013 Super Bowl blackout.

The BadBad

Sometimes companies mean well but just screw up. There isn’t malicious intent, but it does serve as a warning to be careful about what you post and which hashtags you use.

DiGiornio Pizza, which has a pretty good track record, made a mistake with the hashtag #WhyIStayed,” tweeting “You had pizza.” The hashtag was a discussion about domestic violence. The online community called the company out on its insensitive tweet, and DiGiorno apologized.

The Ugly

In 2013, the hashtag #hasjustinelanded exploded when PR professional Justine Sacco tweeted a racist comment before boarding an 11-hour flight from London to South Africa. Sacco’s tweet to her 170 followers exploded and became the No. 1 worldwide trend on Twitter. Her employer issued a statement condemning the tweet, saying “Unfortunately, the employee in question is unreachable on an international flight.”

Sacco was fired midflight without even speaking to her employer.Ugly

Chrysler found itself in an embarrassing situation when a junior staffer at its social media firm tweeted a NSFW criticism of Detroit drivers. The error cost the employee his job and the firm its contract with the automaker.

United breaks guitars. The airline probably doesn’t want to be known for that, but if you search for “United breaks guitars,” a music video pops up as the first result. It even has its own Wikipedia entry. Musician Dave Carroll said his guitar was broken while United Airlines had possession of it. The video got over 150,000 in one day and generated enough negative coverage that United wanted to right the wrong. The video and resulting coverage may have been enough to cause a dip in United’s stock price.

We Can Help

Let Yes& help you navigate any communications challenges you face, including social mediaContact us to learn more about us and our work.

Yes& is the Washington, DC-based marketing agency that brings commercial, association, and government clients the unlimited power of “&” – using a full suite of branding, digital, event, marketing, public relations, and creative capabilities to deliver meaningful and measurable results.

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Sara Rassi
Sara Rassi
VP Account Management