I think one of the more difficult aspects of social media in a corporate context is knowing when and how to engage to turn negative stories into positive ones. A recent example of this is Reese’s response to criticism regarding their chocolate covered peanut Christmas trees. Meant as a seasonal product to capitalize on Christmas gift giving and stocking stuffer purchases, the product attracted negative attention on social media, particularly Twitter and Instagram, for their “untree like shapes.”
This attention started to negatively affect the brand overall, IE are they trying too hard to capture the Christmas market with a sub par product. Rather than ignore the comments, Reese’s marketing dept addressed the criticism head on with the hash tag #alltreesarebeautiful. They supported the hashtag with online ads featuring not only the offending trees but other products in the Reese’s holiday line.
This light hearted approach attracted media attention showcasing their product but also showing that they are a company that takes social media seriously and are willing to poke fun at themselves. Reese’s twitter account is engaging and responds to negative criticism with humour when appropriate and sensitivity when needed. I encourage you to check them out at @ReesesPBCups.