McDonald's has been an active but somewhat timid participant on many social media platforms for a long time. For the most part, but lately, the company's efforts, especially on Twitter, have been quite a disaster. What's even more astonishing is that the company's social media team doesn't seem to be learning from its earlier mistakes.
Earlier this week, McDonald's used the hashtag #McDStories in a few tweets. That hashtag quickly took on a life of its own and people started making fun of the company within minutes. Virtually no tweets with the hashtag were positive and most simply related how people found finger nails in their fries and how much they hate McDonald's in general. Talking to PaidContent earlier this week, the company's social media director explained that the company "carefully selects the words or phrases used to describe its promoted tweets."
Today, however, McDonald's made yet another mistake by using the #littlethings hashtag in a tweet and actually asking its followers for a response. As expected, the response so far has been similar to the previews event:
getting my children started early on morbid obesity – bringing them to McDonalds #littlethings
— laffycaffi (@laffycaffi) January 25, 2012
#LittleThings like the cheeseburger that looked much bigger in the picture.
— Miff Jacobs (@miffjacobs) January 25, 2012
— Steve Caunce (@BoStv) January 25, 2012
What's even worse, hotel brand DoubleTree used the same hashtag just a little while ago, too, and used it in a promoted tweet campaign.
As the Next Web's Stefan Meeuws noted when McDonald's ran the original #McDStories campaign, the company's efforts failed partly due to the simple fact that the hashtag was so vague that anybody could attach virtually any meaning to it. On Twitter, that's basically an open invitation for punishment, especially for a company like McDonald's which must surely be aware of its many detractors.
It's hard to say what McDonald's should have done differently, but it's its best solution right now is probably to lay low for a while and just let this latest storm pass.
How many ingredients make up the McRibb "meat"? #Littlethings
— Dan (@English103) January 25, 2012