Successful blogs have a genius way of relating to others like there’s no computer screen between them and the reader. A real connection helps users forget they’re not face-to-face, open up, and share, too. This kind of exchange is not easy by any stretch of the imagination. It’s hard work to present content in a way that makes sense to an online community and stimulates conversation.
Motrin taught us how not to do reject community over this past weekend. They sorta alienated the online community and offended people with a corporate ad campaign. I’m referring to the total damage control fail after moms stormed Twitter to set everyone straight about babywearing (which increased activity to Motrin’s hompage, shutting it down). When the site went live again, the video was pulled and this posted in it’s place:
Why didn’t Motrin just climb on Twitter, create some self-aware PC screenname and maybe respond on the thread? There’s a better response than a random letter on their homepage. Is that supposed to be a blog post? If so, the disconnect in online communication between users and bloggers, and corporate America is worse than I thought. It wouldn’t bother me so much but I’m pretty sure these places have a communications or PR people. So, I wrote a little open letter to express my grievances over the misuse of social media.
Vice President of Marketing of McNeil Consumer Healthcare:
Let’s all agree to accept the charge and take the power out of stereotypes like “women are crazy” and from that the recent Motrin Ad/Video. First, though, let’s discuss why the video had to say anything else. Also, the video said a lot of stuff and neither of these points are addressed in post on the homepage. As it stands, it just seems like the site went down, Motrin pulled the video, and everyone pretended like social networks and blogs don’t exist. It actually looks a lot like Motrin thought the situation on Twitter couldn’t be resolved in a straightforward, authentic way so the conversation got out of control. This reinforces the stereotype. I regret these questions weren’t brought up because they would have been really to discuss instead of just railing on the ad.
Why didn’t anyone go on Twitter to respond to updates and reply?
True story: When I was in college, we were required to fill out reviews for the professor. For three years, this always happened the last day of the semester. My senior year, we received them online. Well guess what happened? All the professors got angry because the quality of the feedback declined. The only people who responded either really loved or really hated the classes. You can only break stereotypes with a diversity of voices, not only extreme voices. If you meet people where they are and in a place they feel comfortable, the quality of feedback will improve by leaps and bounds.
Let me help you out. If companies are going to use ads with social issues, they should be in touch with social media, too. Here’s where I suggest you start: Create accounts on Twitter (microblog), Delicious (social bookmark), and Facebook (social network). That’s all you need to cover all your bases. For more fun, check out an RSS Feeder for subscribing to blogs (or Facebook feeds) and if you’re still set on posting blog entries (like the one one the Motrin homepage), there are a couple different platforms but WordPress is best.
blogislam (on Twitter)
Transparent and Authentic is the Web
One way to avoid Twittermania would first be to respond to it when its happening. Create an account. Join the conversation. Second would be to tailor successful marketing tools and ad campaigns with suggestions from bloggers. Let bloggers tell you how it could be added to their site or with other networks. Hearing the different perspectives might give internet businesses a better idea of how networks work and how users “use” ads for more than purchases.
Try new suggestions and ask for criticism but don’t forget to play and share new media tools, too. By asking bloggers for feedback, they may be able to point out any outrageous inappropriateness or better yet, maybe return the favor with some advice that will help turn a case of a Twitterfail into social media comeback.