Social Media Fail

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August 3, 2012 by emarketingrookie

I know social media is tricky. It’s time consuming. It’s hard to stay on top of everything, especially if you’re a big brand like Woolworths.

All in all, I would say they’re doing a fantastic job, both in their retail stores and their marketing efforts. Their social media strategy seems to cover all their needs and they respond to both positive and negative comments, building a great overall community feeling.


Yes, I know you saw that coming.

I just need to stress something here, and it’s a great lesson for any brand.

If your policy is to respond to every tweet and post, you need to stick to it. If your community sees you start doing so, but you don’t respond to theirs.. well, it’s not going to make them feel too great, is it.
It’s something that comes from serious commitment from a social media manager or community manager, and something that comes from brands placing that emphasis on customer service. It’s not hard, but it can be overwhelming. My suggestion here would be that if, as the person in charge of social media, you don’t quite know what to say to a complaint or suggestion, just say, “thanks for the feedback, I’ll see what I can do.”

Just try to be genuine and actually do something otherwise… what is the point?

Here is my example:

Woolworths is a fantastic brand. Their products are of high quality and, when it comes to their food, they are known for their freshness, taste and convenience.
There are loads of tasty options that can be popped in the microwave or even just opened, and there you go. A delicious meal. (I’m a fan… can you tell?)

They recently launched a new line of rye bread sandwiches, which look great. Except when it comes to vegetarians. Not so many options there. So it’s back to the egg and mayo or cheese and tomato they go. Now, for some, being a vegetarian is a choice. For others, part of their religion. And for some, like me, a Meat Free Monday effort.

After a very rushed morning, one of my colleagues arrived at work with a very hungry tummy and a very angry face. She was sick of mac and cheese and salad, but woolies had nothing for her. So she sent a tweet to woolies that asked why, oh why, there were so few options for her. In sympathy, I asked said

oh dear, the vegetarians are not so happy @WOOLWORTHS_SA They’re hungry and out of options. Dangerous!

No reply. Not even a “maybe the store was out of stock, try xxx next time”

So the vegetarians (there are a few here) that were feeling forgotten, are now feeling even more left out.

And the whole time, all I could think was that if there was a competitor that wanted to venture into the vegetarian-friendly market, they could have set up some keyword searches and contacted the hungry folk directly. They could have introduced them to their products and maybe offered a sample or two. Et Voila.

Maybe Woolies is still going to respond. Maybe they aren’t and a few little veggie lovers are insignificant given the scale of their client base. But let it be an erookie lesson to us all.




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