McDonald’s is a big company, and it has more resources than most businesses can dream of, but that doesn’t mean it’s perfect. Sometimes, even large companies make mistakes in their social content. This begs the question: Can more social media help companies recover from an earlier mistake? McDonald’s seems to believe so.
The problem occurred earlier this month when McDonald’s launched a sponsored hashtag called #McDStories in the hopes of gathering positive experiences about McDonald’s from Twitter users. For example, the ideal tweet would be something like, “My son’s soccer team loves nuggets & fries after every game. Who knew fries could be good luck? #McDStories.”
Instead, people began to tweet about all the awful experiences they’ve had at the fast food chain. To make matters worse, although McDonald’s pulled the sponsored hashtag within 2 hours in an effort to stop the bad comments, people continued to tweet negative stories. Media outlets like Business Insider, Forbes, and The UK Telegraph, called the whole situation a ”McFail.”
But McDonald’s didn’t give up. Within a day, the company launched a new Twitter campaign called #LittleThings to generate some instant redemption after the previous day’s catastrophe. Experts point out that the new hashtag was eerily similar to #McDStories, but so far, things have worked out. The second round of tweets have been pretty tame, mostly talking about daily habits like drinking coffee or bonding with the kids. McDonald’s kept a close eye on the Twitter campaign and the sponsored hashtag ran the whole day without issue.
It just goes to show that social media can go wrong in an instant, but solutions can be implemented equally fast. It takes courage and resilience to stop one form of social content and create a new response in less than 24 hours, but it’s possible. And with social media, it’s necessary.
Rick Wion, McDonald’s social media director, says that this isn’t the end for Twitter. For example, the next big product launch will definitely include Twitter, despite this marketing snafu. Mistakes happen, but with speed and resilience, any company, big or small, can make social media work for them.