Five Links on Friday: Back On Track?

By Posted in - Five Links On Friday on October 7th, 2016 0 Comments

How To Make a Social Media Campaign Backfire: Lessons from Southern Rail.

And we mean really backfire.

In case you’ve missed what’s happening with Southern Rail, RMT have planned 14 days of strikes from September up until Christmas in protest of proposed regulations that will affect the safety of staff and customers. But instead of trying to keep their work with the union behind the scenes, Southern Rail asked the Twitterverse this week to tweet their feelings on the strike to RMT. And boy, did they have feels. But not towards RMT, the vast majority of the Tweets were aimed at Southern Rail. Here is a just a small selection of the replies from angered commuters and Tweeters alike:

#SouthernFail indeed. You may remember a similarly catastrophic backfire from a McDonald’s campaign back in 2012, #McDStories. Hoping to inspire happy memories of a McChicken Sandwich quickly turned dark with stories of fingernails being found in Big Macs.

RTM have now made an official complaint against Southern Rail for urging people to direct abuse towards them. Although they are refusing to apologise for their campaign, we think there are some valuable lessons that Southern Rail could learn from this self-induced social media disaster. The most important takeaway is that they need to understand their audience and have some empathy. Commuters are currently very unhappy for suffering months of disrupted service (I’m sure they have voiced these feelings on Twitter already), so asking them to stand up for the company who is the cause of this misery is probably a bad idea.

As an aside to this, we’re pretty convinced that any social media manager who spends time on Twitter will have learned to read the mood of their audience. To us this suggests that this campaign didn’t come from the digital staff at Southern Rail, but from someone more senior – someone without that direct understanding of their customers. So this would indicate another lesson Southern can learn – don’t ignore the advice of digital and social staff. If a company has hired people for their expertise and aptitude for a role, they should be trusted to carry out that role, and their advice should be respected in important situations like this.

Back on the positive side of the internet, we’ve got some useful links that you might find helpful…

It’s interesting to know that over in the States, Google have changed their search results to include more information about universities and colleges:

*Shameless plug alert* My latest blog on Instagram Stories explains why you need to make fresh content for the new feature:

Social Media Examiner share their top five tips for generating leads on Snapchat:

And finally, our very own Head of Research, Pez, shares how beautiful influencer marketing can be by sharing a map he’s created for a client:

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