Another Twitter disaster

Another Twitter campaign hit the headlines last week for all the wrong reasons. McDonald’s began a campaign to promote some good stories about the brand but when the hashtag #McDstories emerged it suddenly began attracting the wrong kind of stories.
If you want to read all the gory details there’s a summary on the Business Insider website, but what really caught my eye were the quotes from McDonald’s Social Media Director, Rick Wion. Whilst seeking to downplay the scale of the problem, he also claimed that “With all social media campaigns, we include contingency plans should the conversation not go as planned. The ability to change midstream helped this small blip from becoming something larger.”
It made me wonder what small and medium sized businesses should do in their Social Media strategies. Whilst the sheer numbers of potential ‘problem messages’ will be far less than for McDonald’s, the risk of reputation damage could be just as big. How many have a contingency plan and how many have the resource to implement it if the worst should happen?
If a brand the size of McDonald’s with all their inhouse expertise, agencies and consultants can get it wrong, then so can any of us – the only options it seems to me are to have an actionable contingency plan or not take part in the first place.
Happy tweeting, posting and updating