Monday is a day of catching up in the office. As a social media consultant with a life, my activities over the weekend are for the most part limited. I hang out with my daughter, with my girlfriend and/or enjoy New York City. I also watch a lot of soccer, as much as the two above allow it.
Today I read in the soccer and social media news how Manchester United’s marketing, pr and social media department allowed a major NoNo to happen. The experts put poor player Michael Carrick on the hot seat and let him be grilled by their own fans and fans of the opposition. Manchester United launched a Twitter hashtag #AskCarrick and people from all over the place started firing.
The club is going through a major crisis at this time. With famous Sir Alex Ferguson retired and a new coach in place, the change hasn’t been blessed with great success. That in itself is to no surprise to those that have an understanding of the sport. Changing leadership, especially in this case, will cause some hick-ups and it might take some time until the great English soccer club will be back to “normal”.
Two months ago a major US bank made a similar mistake. They put an executive, one that had some major activity in the financial crisis going on, on Twitter with the hashtag #AskJPM. Going through all kind of crisis’, no wonder that attempt to engage with “fans” went out of hand as well, and the press reported about it with delight. And so it is happening with poor Michael Carrick, who got a cold shower from participants. Check some of the tweets below:
#AskCarrick You’ve gone from playing with the likes of Ronaldo and Paul Scholes, to playing with Cleverley and Nani. How does that feel?
— TheSPORTBible (@TSBible) February 3, 2014
Would Moyes consider putting De Gea upfront, so that you can pass the ball the right way? #AskCarrick
— Giroudnaldo (@Devon1886) February 3, 2014
#AskCarrick have you started taking Maths classes for your top 4 permutations?
— SOCCERPAEDIA (@soccerpaedia) February 3, 2014
— The Patriarch (@markopolo94) February 3, 2014
#AskCarrick do you think i can become a fotballer like cleverley i’m kind of fat but i got the skill like clevs
— haris hodzic (@Actioncole) February 3, 2014
I am wondering how these marketing/pr/social media departments tick. Has anyone an idea how much this can hurt a brand or marketing revenues? How about protecting your employees from public punishment? No?
Lesson number one for social media people in times of crisis (and you should know this if you work for organizations such as JP Morgan or Manchester United):
“Don’t set your employees or players up for a beating from the angry public if your organization already has major problems to keep the lid on a boiling pot of water”.
There are so many ways to use social media to your advantage, don’t complicate things with foolish activities. And sometimes it is even better to just proceed with daily business and not run any extraordinary activities until a major win is booked.