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Why You Need Social Media Training…Reason #1

Learn from other’s mistakes and success.
Don’t learn the hard way.

One of the most valuable pieces of any training session is the time spent analyzing case studies and best practices. In a rather new and constantly evolving space like social media, these examples are a great place to save yourself from the past mistakes already made by others. We work hard to constantly update our Social Media Boot Camp with new and noteworthy examples of brands that are doing things right, as well as those getting it wrong.

Here are a few examples of past case studies discussed in our Social Media Boot Camp:

Red Cross Getting “Slizzerd”

In February of 2011 an American Red Cross employee accidentally posted a tweet from the @RedCross account that was meant for their personal account. The message read:

“Ryan found two more 4 bottle packs of Dogfish Head’s Midas Touch beer… when we drink we do it right #gettingslizzerd”

The post was promptly deleted, but not before plenty of people saw the post. A media firestorm ensued. Many thought it was going to be tough for the Red Cross to recover from this PR nightmare, but some creative social media activity quickly turned things around.

What they did right was to admit the mistake publicly, and even more importantly apologized. Both the organization and the employee apologized, and afterwards they were actually able turn the event into a fundraiser. They teamed up with the Dogfish Head brewery and asked people to tweet a donation link with the hashtag “#gettingslizzerd.” The link was quickly passed around the web and turned a PR nightmare into a successful fundraising campaign.

Domino’s Employee Prank Video

In April 2009, a group of Domino’s employees shot a prank video that featured them putting cheese up their nose and farting on ingredients before placing them on menu items. One of the employees posted the video to YouTube and it quickly went viral. In a matter of days the video had more than a million views and major news stations were starting to pick up the story.

Domino’s posted an apology to its website and explained that the food was never actually sent to any customers. But what they really did right was posting a video to YouTube of the Domino’s USA president, Patrick Doyle, issuing an apology, explaining what happened and what was being done to rectify the situation. By properly tagging the apology video, their resposne appeared in search results for anyone who was searching the original title of the video (at this point which had been deleted).

Sales number were most certainly impacted by the video and the social media firestorm, but the overall impact was certainly mitigated by their response.

Qwikster and Netflix

In July 2011, Netflix announced that it would be upping its prices and breaking its companies into two divisions. A new division called Qwikster would handle the DVD-by-mail service the company was originally founded on, while Netflix would focus on the video-streaming that had come to make it extremely popular. Customers were outraged by both the price hike as well as the new company structure, and quickly took to social media to vent.

Unfortunately, Netflix had not taken the time to obtain or create a Twitter username for Qwikster before the announcement and the holder of the Qwikster account got a huge spike in followers and mentions. Worse yet, the owner of the account was a mouthy teenager whose posts regularly contain comments about smoking marijuana between various expletives.

Just three weeks later, Netflix announced they would no longer be restructuring the company, but would continue to move forward with the price increase. However, the damage had already been done. The stock price took a major hit and tons of customers were lost. Having had a better social media plan in place may not have saved those customers or the stock price erosion caused by the business decision, but it certainly would have helped them better respond to unhappy customers.

T.G.I. Friday’s Not So Free Burger

In September 1, 2009, TGI Friday’s launched a Facebook campaign aimed at trying to get more fans of their page. The campaign stated that if they could get 500,000 Facebook fans by September 2009, then the first 500,000 people would receive a coupon for a free Jack Daniels Burger or Chicken Sandwich. By the end of the next day,still in the soft launch of the campaign, they already had 80,000 fans. Once the banner ads and tv spots hit it took only another week, September 13th, for their page to hit the 500,000 fan mark.

Unprepared for this level of demand, TGI Friday’s extended the offer to the first 1 million fans while they scrambled to handle the logistics of the coupons. By the end their Facebook page was littered with angry customers who hadn’t received their coupons. After the promotion timeframe expired, the company pulled down page and abandoned all 1 million fans of that page.


The lesson to take away from this social media blunder, prepare for the worst case scenario and the best case scenario. Reaching your campaign goals too early should be a good problem to have. But you need to be prepared and have all your logistics ready before pulling the trigger. And more importantly, you need to be agile and flexible to changes after the campaign goes live. A well thought out campaign could have capitalized on the mass engagement of people beyond just one free coupon.

These are just some of the case studies that may be discussed in the ASPE-ROI Social Media Boot Camp. Don’t let your company make this list, get your team up-to-speed with social media training.


Why You Need Social Media Training…10 Reasons

Over the coming weeks, I will be posting 10 reasons why you need social media training. In this new and constantly evolving space it is imperative to stay on the cutting edge to be successful. Many people are hesitant to take social media training because they are skeptical of self-proclaimed experts and gurus. That is why we have put together a team of experienced and knowledgeable instructors who travel the US teaching companies how to properly utilize social media as a sales and marketing tool. We’ve done the heavy lifting for you and weeded out the snake oil salesman. As one of the nation’s leading training providers, we know who and what make a successful learning experience. The goal of this series is to show you why you should consider social media training from ASPE-ROI.


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