Social Media Monitoring

Social Media Monitoring

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  • Krisztian Szabados
    Krisztian Szabados
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    Hi Everybody,

    Let me share with you an interesting and disastrous social media case study from Hungary.

    Starbucks was planning to enter the Hungarian market for ages. After some failed attempt, it seemed that the coffee chain will never pop up in my country. Some enthusiasts sponteneously opened a Facebook page and Twitter account independent from the company's official pages.

    The Facebook page soon gathered more than 3000 fans from Hungary, which is an astonishing number for a corporate brand (1 million Hungarians are registered on FB of which very few join corporate brand channels). The group was so active that it organized a social media flash mob - at a discussed time they posted hundreds of tweets to Starbucks's twitter page with the same text: 'Starbucks come to Hungary'.

    Finally, Starbucks decided to open its first branch in Budapest. The company had an excellent opportunity to buzz the grand opening ceremony via the existing Facebook fan club. But Starbucks did something strange.

    Days before the grand opening, the 3000-member group was erased from FB completely and the company's PR agency launched another FB page as the 'official page'. The members of the original club were devastated, so the founder of the group launched another page named:

    ===> 'We want Starbucks - but not this way'.

    Soon members of the original group posted dozens of comments expressing their disappointment in the way Starbucks treats its fans.

    The story soon reached the media, blogs started criticizing Starbucks and the PR agency.

    Both Starbucks and the PR agency denied that they erased the original FB page. Journalists then turned to FB for explanation but no answer to this day. So the grand opening ended up in a huge pr crisis for Starbucks.

    Imagine that those pr gurus at Starbucks offer a free coffee for FB fans... there would have been hundreds of people at the grand opening, positive media reactions, free ad for the company ... and so on.

    I think this is a very good example how stupid decisions destroy an otherwise splendid opportunity.

    Best,

    Krisztian Szabados
    http://www.flowpr.hu
    This post was changed on 19 Jun 2010 at 01:35 pm by Prof. Dr. Urs E. Gattiker .
  • Prof. Dr. Urs E. Gattiker
    Prof. Dr. Urs E. Gattiker    Premium Member   Group moderator
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    Krisztian

    This is a very interesting post indeed describing another case for our ropes to skip series.
    This is a social media mistake from a company - Starbucks - that is considered to be social media savvy and has been praised .... I put it in one of my four tips in this forum for doing social media right - engage a la Starbucks:

    ===> 5 key steps for using social media smartly
    ===> https://www.xing.com/net/smmetrics/case-studies-successes-fl...

    In the above post, under 4. Find your sweetspot I stated:

    "Engagement has to go deeper than just the surface. No, it is not a campaign that you can turn on or off. "

    And here we have an example where Starbucks tried to just let the excitement run its course but then wanted to get control over it .... just before the company came to Hungary.

    But it also is not a good story for Facebook that has its share of problems on how it treats its users. Actually, both companies should have come clean and told the public about what they did and why the did it.

    As Chiara Bolognini pointed out in her post about youngsters wanting to have brands that are straight and honest:, this kind of behavior by brands will not fly:

    ====> Straightforward communication is critical
    ===> https://www.xing.com/net/smmetrics/case-studies-successes-fl...

    BOTTOM LINE
    Being straightforward in your communication is key. Your example, Krisztian, confirms this with a "Hungarian" case. Not being straightforward damages the brand and surely puts a big scratch into Starbucks reputation.... but also questions those that have claimed it is social media savvy.

    In social media 101, we all learned that you cannot control it but you can participate and engage clients. So Starbucks should have known better.

    This also illustrates that Facebook is continuing being challenged putting its users first. Due to its monetisation focus it tends to forget users' interests in favor of its advertisers. A risky strategy this is with a user base that is fickle:

    ===> what is longer US Constitution or Facebook privacy regulation - survey says:
    ===> https://www.xing.com/net/smmetrics/best-practice-social-medi... .

    Krisztian, thanks for sharing this insight.

    PS: By the way, who says that a pr (public relations) agency knows how to do social media? This case shows that It is like asking a plumber to install electric lights... a risky choice that is.
  • Krisztian Szabados
    Krisztian Szabados
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    There are 1800 posts about the story up to now in the Hungarian blogosphere

    http://blog.miner.hu/k/Starbucks

    Krisztian Szabados
    http://www.flowpr.hu
  • Deni Kasrel
    Deni Kasrel
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    Agreed: It’s hard to believe that Starbucks, which is noted as among the very top brands in terms of social media savvy, could make a blunder like this one.

    Yes, they claim they are not guilty as charged, but then how to explain what happened? Did the group just collapse all by itself at such a coincidental time?

    And who can imagine the reasoning behind shutting down the group? Why risk losing all that built up goodwill and social equity while breaking a cardinal rule of social media (as also noted by Urs) which is, you can’t try to control the message of your fans (or foes for that matter). You can be part of the conversation and try to help manage it, as a participant, putting in your own two-cents -- but you can’t expect to be in charge of everything.

    Beyond that, the erasure from Facebook is a curious circumstance. Why would Facebook allow Starbucks to be able to delete the group? This too is hard to fathom. Even if Starbucks does a lot of advertising on Facebook --- a reason why they might bend to the company’s wishes -- the action flies in the face of what Facebook claims to represent. As it becomes more mainstream, FB is getting more onerous in its policies and behaviors. The growing gorilla thinks it can do whatever it wants.

    So there appears to be poor judgment on several sides here. The incident highlights how delicate the balance is in the world of social media and that as more $ starts coming into the picture, the so-called free spirit atmosphere can easily fall by the wayside.
  • Krisztian Szabados
    Krisztian Szabados
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    Dear Deni,

    sorryfor replying late but I had no time to log in. Since Starbucks runs official national FB pages, it was their clear interest not to let live an independent, uncontrolled fan page. I dont think that FB and Starbucks collaborated behind the scene to delete the fan page, but other options seem to me be sci-fi.

    Best,

    Krisztian
 
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