Twitter Marketing Campaigns…do they work?

A slight break for Christmas and New Year and back today with a relatively short one today, focusing on Twitter Marketing campaigns.

Leading up to Christmas Tesco launched a Twitter campaign for people to win a voucher to claim a chocolate bar. All you had to do was Tweet #PullACracker to a friend and then Tesco would tweek you with a link to an interactive cracker pull, which would award one of you with the voucher. What a great idea with all the hallmarks of a good PR campaign. It was simple, easy to do, effective and entertaining and it wasn’t surprising that my twitter stream was a live with these hashtags within minutes. It was really pleasing to see a brand like Tesco engaging in the social media space in such an innovative, simple way and I couldn’t see any way this could backfire.

Roll on New Year’s eve and unfortunately it all went a little bit wrong for a friend of mine. She took her voucher into her local store in Sidcup to claim her chocolate treat. This is where it all went a bit awry for her because as she presented her voucher the till worker looked at her blankly. It then got worse as they accused my friend loudly, in front of other customers, of faking the voucher and that they hadn’t heard of this campaign at all. She left the store very quickly, red faced and rather angry.

To give Tesco their credit, she tweeted this and they immediately responded to her to get further details and to report the incident. The problem is that this is now all happening in the very public Twitter platform and undermining the good PR that was initially gained from the #PullACracker campaign. Unfortunately for Tesco the issue here was that the internal communications clearly failed and therefore a brilliant initial campaign was let down by the supply chain part of the process. This is a great pity as otherwise this would have been a standout example of best practice in Twitter marketing. Most people will now, however, take the negative view and highlight again the issues with using social media as a promotional platform. I disagree as this could have happened even if it was an offline campaign and in this case Tesco were let down by a particularly stupid member of their staff.

With a few tweaks Tesco would have hit the jackpot. I don’t know how other people got on with this campaign but no doubt it was generally a success. Kelloggs recently released a Twitter campaign for their new crisp line that was a masterstroke. They opened a pop up store in London as a place where people could drop in and get a free bag of the new crisps as long as they then tweeted about it (which they could do from the shop). It didn’t matter what their tweet said as long as they said something. And then they laid on the gooey fluffy top notch customer service to anyone who walked through the door. What happened? Well unsurprisingly they received a huge amount of positive and free advertising from people who came and got their free bag of crisps. What Kelloggs did perfectly, but unfortunately Tesco just feel short of the mark on, was that they made sure the whole end to end experience was top notch. This is the key to any marketing campaign…consistency of experience.

What this does show is that, unlike the perception, social media is a hot bed of opportunity if people are willing to actually think through the campaign. There are plenty of ways to make the multitude of sites pay off for you as a brand, as long as you take it seriously (both from an external and internal point of view). We just need to get out there and put some more of these campaigns together to prove that there is value to be got from these sites.


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