When it comes to a company that's as large as Starbucks, new initiatives don't get released to the public in a spontaneous manner. Instead, any big marketing push has to go through countless layers of approval before it goes out into the world. But while Starbucks and other large companies put a lot of work into their marketing, that doesn't mean they always get it right.
An example of Starbucks missing the mark is their "Race Together" campaign. The quick summary of this campaign is that baristas were instructed to write "Race Together" on customers' cups. The purpose of writing this phrase was to encourage conversations between baristas and customers about race.
If this idea sounds a little bit off to you, you're definitely not alone. While most people realize that the US and the rest of the world still have a long way to go before the race is no longer an issue, that doesn't mean coffee cups are the solution.
While Starbucks likely had multiple meetings where they walked through how they expected this campaign to be received by the public, it appears they didn't include a discussion about social media management during those meetings.
Starbucks and Their Misguided Response to a Social Media Backlash
As soon as media outlets began publishing stories about the new "Race Together" campaign, people took to social media channels like Facebook and Twitter to share their thoughts. While some people supported this effort, the overwhelming response was negative.
The reason it's clear that Starbucks didn't plan for any sort of negative social media reception is that as negative comments gained momentum, the company didn't face what was happening. Instead, an executive on Starbucks’ communications team, Corey duBrowa, even blocked people on Twitter before temporarily taking down his account. He later followed up with a blog post which said that he felt he was being personally attacked in a cascade of negativity and that he had gotten overwhelmed.
Social Media Training is No Longer Optional
If a communications executive isn't able to deal with negative social media comments, how is anyone else expected to do so without the proper training? What happened with Starbucks is the perfect example of why social media training is a must for companies.
Instead, the savviest thing a company can do is properly train their entire team to use social media. Making this form of a training a priority means that a company will not only be able to properly weather a social media backlash, but it will also empower them to strengthen their marketing efforts by fully harnessing the power of social media.
Ready to learn more? Check out our custom social media training packages.
Michelle Hummel is CEO of Web Strategy Plus a full-service digital marketing agency focused on Franchise Marketing. She was recently nominated for the Woman-Owned Business of the Year! She’s a passionate Social Media Trainer with 15+ years of successful online business development, sales, and marketing experience. She also holds a valuable Internet Marketing Degree however with the ever-changing world of web marketing she strives to learn something new every day.
She travels Nationwide visiting her 22 Social Media Enthusiasts Chapters delivering in-depth social media training. She also provides Social Media Certifications through founding Web Media University. A current contributing editor to The Franchise Dictionary Magazine and she has written 3 books in her series called, “The Social Media Magnet: Everything You Need to Know to Attract Customers with Social Media”, where she shares her best-kept secrets to success. She also specializes in helping Franchisors and Franchisees develop an integrated web marketing program to drive leads. She’s available for interviews via email, telephone, Skype video, news segments on location and more. Just let her know how she can help!