How Not to Run a Twitter Promotion

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Promotional hashtag campaigns can work extremely well on Twitter.  However, there have been examples in the past where Twitter users have taken them over for their own purposes.  In this way, something that began as a positive and promotional experience turned out to be anything but.

The latest example of such an occurrence comes from the mighty McDonald’s fast food chain.  It all began with two promoted tweets.  McDonald’s thought that asking people for their “McDStories” would lead to a positive and encouraging campaign for their business.  Of course, this did not happen.

Instead, people used the hashtag to share their nightmare stories and opinions of the company.  Incidents of food poisoning were shared on Twitter, as were stories of unfriendly staff members and undesirable things found in burgers and meals.

McDonald’s was quick to put a stop to the Twitter campaign within hours of it beginning.  But by then hundreds of people had already got started on conversations surrounding the hashtag.  It had also made the headlines across the internet, bringing the embarrassment to a much wider audience than it would have done simply on Twitter.  So the company had joined the ranks of other companies that have been bitten through trying to impress their customers by using a top social media site.

It remains to be seen whether McDonald’s will try something like this again.  It did get reasonably good results with the hashtag #MeettheFarmers.  But it is unlikely that we will ever see the likes of #McDStories again.


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