This week’s social media roundup is inadvertently brought to you courtesy of some big brand names, whose ill-advised marketing and PR gambits have kept Twitter busy all week.

Eat our chocolate -it makes you dumb

We kick off with Snickers, who enlisted the use of Katie Price (aka Jordan)’s Twitter account to promote the chocolate. Initially, Katie’s 1.5million + followers were surprised to see her usual vacuous timeline (sample tweet: “get that horrid women (sic) out of bb, I dislike her”) filled with comments on quantitative easing and the Eurozone debt crisis. The mystery was solved, though…

Thereafter, normal service was resumed- including an explanation to Lord Sugar as to what had been going on. The mind boggles:

So, you might be temporarily overcome by an interest in significant world affairs, but a bite of a Snickers will restore you to brainless glory. As my Nan would say, “they just didn’t think it through”.

When “brand engagement” goes bad

Next up, McDonald’s. Now, you’d think that any brand with an army of detractors the size of theirs would fight shy of introducing a hashtag which could be easily subverted, wouldn’t you? You wouldn’t? You’d be right. Earlier in the week they began sending out tweets using the #McDStories hashtag, which was intended to promote the positive effects on farmers of growing for McDonalds.

It took precisely no minutes at all for the ever-mischievous Twitter community to pick up on the hashtag and start using it in ways that, as McDonalds was later to comment, “did not go as planned”. Like this:

You really have to wonder if McDonald’s marketing department is run by actual clowns. How else could they not have worked out by now that Twitter is not Hello! magazine? If you put something out there, you better be sure that you don’t mind the rest of the world joining in – and their agenda might not quite match yours.

LA Fitness will help you lose that pound of flesh

And finally, the gym chain LA Fitness. For variety, this time the clowns seem to be in the PR department. One of their customers appealed to Guardian Money for help terminating a gym membership that she could no longer afford, following a series of exceptionally unfortunate events.

Now, you may or may not believe that people should always be held to contracts they’ve signed for the long term when, y’know, stuff happens, but it doesn’t take a business genius to work out that once the story goes to print nationally, there’s probably more to be gained from making a one-off exception than by demanding your pound of flesh. LA Fitness took the opposite view –  and the story was picked up on Twitter. An avalanche of negative tweets followed, including many suggesting that more liberal-minded folks might like to boycott the chain. It’s now looking as though the family’s gym fees will be met by well-wishers, and LA Fitness is firmly installed as this week’s incarnation of evil.


This week’s useful links

New small biz social media case studies

Always good to get new case studies of social media success, especially from smaller businesses who’ve done it on a budget. This collection of 9 small business social media success stories is excellent, showcasing a wide variety of businesess from a photographer to a (female) carpenter. It’s a bit light on results, but there are some good ideas in there which might inspire you.

The art of Pay-per-click

Starting or running a Google Ads (pay per click) campaign? With the tight word restrictions, writing your ad can be a lot harder than you expect. Some good advice here from Hubspot on how to write great PPC copy

And just for fun….

This isn’t brand new, but we enjoyed it so it’s getting included anyway. 24hours of Twitter in London visualised – fascinating!


That’s it for now, have a great weekend and do feel free to share any thoughts or great articles you’ve come across this week in the Comments!