During Christmas 2013, marketers around the world got a harsh reminder of just how easily poorly managed social media campaigns can backfire. Starbucks’ Twitter campaign to “spread the cheer” of Christmas was effectively hijacked by Twitter users protesting about the coffee firm’s tax evasion issues.

Social media campaigns gone wrong
Using the hashtag #spreadthecheer, Tweets vehemently criticising Starbucks’ tax-related indiscretions flooded the company’s Twitter profile with negative content. To make matters worse, the Tweets were displayed live on a big screen at the Starbucks-sponsored ice rink at the Natural History Museum in London – without being checked first! The outcome was nothing short of disastrous for the coffee giant.

This may seem like a one-off social media catastrophe, but in fact, these types of live interactive marketing campaigns often go awry without the proper monitoring. M&S’ live Twitter Q&A with Rosie Huntington-Whitley using hashtag #AskRosie was also overtaken by Twitter users who were unhappy with M&S’ decision to sell game in some of their shops. Instead of responding to users’ questions, M&S opted to ignore all negative Tweets, adding further fuel to their detractors’ fire.

A new, strategic approach
How then can companies avoid bearing the brunt of such damaging social media backlash?
Fortunately, innovative social media platforms like our live Twitter feeds offer a moderated solution that could protect a company’s image while still allowing it to engage with followers and enjoy fully interactive real-time marketing.

Much like Starbucks did at the ice rink, we allow your company to feature a fully branded live Twitter feed on screens throughout your event, using a secure bespoke URL and your own customised hashtag. However, the difference in image management is that we use our own bespoke moderated system that allows companies to moderate all Tweets before they’re broadcast using the client dashboard that can be accessed anywhere, anytime, from any device. Companies can also opt for auto ban options by keyword or username, or they can even delete Tweets before or after they’ve been pushed live; essentially, we give companies the power to decide what user-generated content they would like published, eliminating any possible risk of hijacking by ornery followers.

Take social media seriously
The recent experiences of Starbucks and M&S should serve as a timely reminder of the need to take interactive online marketing seriously. This means crafting campaigns that take precautions to avoid negative content from users, and embracing cutting-edge platforms like our moderated Twitter Wall, that can protect your company from social media disasters.

If a moderated Tweet Wall is what your event needs, get in touch today.