Social media offers companies a chance to engage with consumers. That means listening to those who serve and not just brushing them off. When implementing a social media marketing plan it can go one of two ways, good or bad. In this weeks post I will discuss how one company used social media and failed, while another company uses social media and have had complete success. These two companies both have a Facebook page and a Twitter account, but one company started a social media campaign that failed while another started a social media campaign that succeeded. These two companies are Ragu and Southwest Airlines. Google both of these companies with the phrase “social media” added you will find numerous articles and blog entries about these companies and their use of social media.
Dads Rage Against Ragu
In 2011 Ragu decided that to start a new campaign called, “What’s dinner time like when dad cooks”. Ok stop! Look at the title of the campaign. That is just a bad from the start and I am not the only one who thought this was one of the stupidest campaigns and not only that but also insulting to dads. Here is how it went down, they started this campaign with a YouTube video that they made of what Mom’s have to say about dads and cooking dinner. They used their Twitter feed to spam dad with @ symbol and this video was attached: When watching the video the first thing that comes to mind for me is that these women are stuck up and think they are better. They rail on how their husbands cook dinner. One lady in the video mentions that her husband only knows how to make sausage and waffles, another one talks about how her husband only grills. They all say that the kids love when dad cooks because they get whatever they want. So for Ragu to “spam” dads using Twitter was obviously not the right move. A company should never send out spam in the first place, but to send out spam messages to dads, with a video complaining about how they cook is insulting. What happened after this fiasco? Well as you can imagine dads were not happy and so these dads fought back through the use of “social media”. That’s right Ragu isn’t the only one who knows how to use social media (well maybe they don’t). CC Chapman who happens to not only be in marketing but is also a dad, was one of the many dads who got spammed by Ragu via Twitter, he was not happy and neither were his followers.
The question now is how could Ragu avoid this in the first place. One way in which they could have avoided this is by better defining who their target audience was, instead of just spamming them with an insulting video. There are many different approaches they could have taken if they wanted to target dads, for example what asking dads what they like to cook for their kids. They could have used Twitter in a better way in asking its followers (male followers) what they like to cook for their children. This could have been done on Facebook as well.Ragu is a perfect example of how a company should NOT use social media, but that doesn’t mean a company can’t use social media to make consumers more aware of their brand along with reminding consumers about them.
Are you “nuts” about Southwest Airlines well then you are among the millions of other people out there who are a fan of this airline. Southwest Airlines currently has over 2 million people following them on Facebook and over 1 million followers on Twitter. Now how is it that Southwest has such a high amount of people following them on these two sites. The answer is through their marketing campaign “Nuts About Southwest”, this is not only their slogan but also the name of their popular blog. This particular airline has a one of a kind blog, this particular blog is written by the employees of Southwest Airlines about their job, the places they have gone and the people that they meet. Most blogs only have two or three contributors, however they have around 40 different employees blogging for “Nuts About Southwest”. Southwest has always been known as a company that has excellent customer service, in that they always listen to their customers and strive to meet the needs every person who chooses to fly with them. In an article on PRdaily they talked to Laurel Moffat about why their social media policy, she mentioned that “We’re all communicators and that all members of the Southwest team embrace being spokespeople for the company”. This key phrase is “spokespeople for the company”. When dealing with social media it is important that when allowing for employees of any company to look at themselves in this way, if one member does not feel this way then there could possible be an issue. She also mentioned that, “…good intentions alone won’t manage a massive social media following”. This is important to understand because if a company is to start a social media campaign then it is important to manage those who follow your company so that you can pin point problems and fix them before they get out of hand. She also mentions that when dealing with social media, it is important to sound like a real person, people don’t want to follow a company that sounds like they are just Tweeting to tweet but rather to think that they are talking to you and engaging with the consumer.
Things that Southwest does in order to make their blog and all their other social media sites work is that they listen and when a problem arises they work to solve the problem in a timely manner. There was once an incident in which an overweight passenger was removed from the plane because he could not fit into the seat. The person whom they kicked off the flight decided to blog about it and complained about it. Southwest made phones calls and Tweets about this trying to find a way in which to rectify the problem. They also handle the problem in which one the pilots went off ranting. They were able to resolve this issue and once again Southwest was able to regain the respect of their customers.
So how does Southwest manage to maintain such a strong force on social media sites, Southwest uses the following sites in order to make sure that everything runs smoothly they use Radian6 and Vocus. Radian6 is part of Salesforce and this site in which companies can use for social media listening, monitoring and engagement. Vocus has a marketing suit and a PR suite, the marketing suite allows for customers to, “…makes it easy for to attract customers through search engines, get followers on Facebook and Twitter, and generate buzz and visibility for your company.” There PR suite allows, “…allows you to monitor news, distribute press releases and engage in social media.” This I believe has truly helped Southwest to establish a brand in which consumers can trust. It also has allowed for Southwest to better monitor what is going on with the various social media outlets that they are using. Laurel Moffat also said that one which they monitor what is being published on their various different social media sites is by making sure that all member are required to print out a report to share with all the departments. Also any employee who chooses to do a local Facebook page in order to engage with consumers are required to take training on how to do this properly.
Now that we have a full understanding of what Southwest does in order to maintain their high standards in the world of social media, let’s find out what could possibly go wrong. Considering how well they monitor all of the different sites they are on as well as their “Nuts About Southwest” blog it is hard to imagine something going wrong. If anything was to go wrong I would imagine that it would involve something like a disgruntled employee who writes for their blog writing something negative and it somehow slipping through. Someone hacking their site could also cause a major disturbance, especially if it took them a few days to fix.
Ragu VS Southwest
We have discussed how one brand Ragu screwed up in using social media by spam their so called target market, while another company Southwest Airlines has taken the use of social media by the horns and are doing excellent. So how could one company go so wrong while another did so well? The answer to that is simple, one had did their homework while the other didn’t. Knowing who your target market is, is important and knowing how to go about reaching them is even more important. Ragu choose to spam their target market with an insulting video while the other company choose to listen to their customers and wanted to be seen as a company that truly cared about their customers.
Ivey, M. (2011, June 30). Southwest airlines and social media strategy: 5 lessons for marketers . Retrieved from http://www.socialmediaexplorer.com/social-media-marketing/southwest-airlines-strategy/:
Hosenkkamp, S. (2012, February 10). How southwest manages its popular social media sites. Retrieved from http://www.prdaily.com/Main/Articles/How_Southwest_manages_its_popular_social_media_sit_10788.aspx
Schechter, M. (2011, October 04). Brand bullying: A tale of ragu and social media. Retrieved from http://socialmediatoday.com/ginidietrich/370992/brand-bullying-tale-ragu-and-social-media
Chapman, C. (2011, September 27). Ragu hates dads. Retrieved from http://www.cc-chapman.com/2011/ragu-hates-dads/