The history of social media gaffes has a new anti-hero – Nestle & Facebook
n ten years time, when we have a tangible appreciation of what social media really is, this day will go down in history as Nestle Day.
The multi-national confectionery company has been taught a lesson today, one that may not prove to be so sweet for its social media monitor once the board discovers exactly the kind of dialogue he or she has been having with ‘fans’ of the firm’s Facebook page.
Here’s how to go from ‘engaging conversation with consumers’ to worldwide scorn in five sentences, the Nestle way.
Nestle’s Facebook page started today with this simple, but inherently idiotic, status update.
“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.”
And the Chinese Whisper of social media commentary immediately turned into a howl of derision that echoed, rapidly, around the world.
The first to comment was Nestle friend Paul Griffin. He offered a little timely and gentle advice to the Nestle executive pushing the company’s Facebook buttons.
“Social Media is about embracing your market, engaging and having a conversation rather than preaching.”
So what would you do next?
Well, you’d probably not say what the, by now clearly irritated, Nestle pen-pusher said:
“Thanks for the lesson in manners. Consider yourself embraced. But it’s our page, we set the rules, it was ever thus.”
All of a sudden the world began to pay attention, but not for the reasons Nestle would have liked I’m guessing.
But not to be outdone the company’s Facebook clerk had clearly smelled blood and wanted to set out his, and by default, Nestle’s position with a little more clarity.
“You have freedom of speech and expression. Here, there are some rules we set. As in almost any other forum. It’s to keep things clear.”
It’s not exactly the spirit of engagement anyone with even the most casual of social media knowledge-bases would recognise or recommend is it?
The monumental social media gaffe is now being PDF’d around the globe and discussed on forums covering everything from videogames to politics as well as every established social media site on the web.
We won’t truly know the value of this PR disaster for many months but, right now, in the bright sunlight of this Friday morning the words ‘paddle’ and ‘shit-creek’ come readily to mind.
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