Does shouting work for a social media strategy?

Shouting vs Sharing: Every person having SM experience will say it’s one big difference between traditional marketing and social media marketing.

Any fundamental change, such as social media, requires a change in both tactic and strategy. Using an old strategy with the new tactic will not work.
In this case, shouting through the SM megaphone will either get you 1) ignored (that’s if you’re just not relevant but with a flawless execution or 2) hurt (that’s if you piss off people at the tactical level).

So when I hear stories like Pizza Hut has more than 100k fans on Facebook or that TGIF got 900k fans, I’m in awe.  On the surface they look like awesome social media success as they’ve built a huge and visible social proof that way.
But then, I ask myself: Are they sharing or shouting? Are people sharing back with them? What kind of relationships are they building with all those fans?

This is the case where your common sense tells you “No, it can’t be”.
So I went and looked under the hood, more precisely at TGIF’s facebook page (>900k fans!).

Woody (the TGIF persona) is basically a special offer machine, which to me is more shouting than sharing. Not really anything engaging, it tells nothing about TGIF as a company.
But I was also very intrigued by the number of comments as they were tons of them.
There comes the real big surprise.
The comments range in the categories of:
– People really pissed of at TGIF for not getting their free burger coupons (which is truly what got TGIF to “pay for” >900k fans..Read “pay for” because they ran a very traditional marketing campaign to get people to sign up)
– People encouraging others to boycott TGIF
– Random nonsense
– Spam

Basically I think they screwed up. They achieved their goals by getting an amazing number of fans (but to be honest it’s not hard when you giveaway something). Again this is the big debate between quantity and quality. Huge number of fans, large number of comments but zero in quality (no blame on the hundreds of people unhappy who want others to know they’re unhappy)
Bottom line, I think it’s a big failure. What they got is a lot of shouting back and tons of angry people. Their FB page looks like a mega crisis and their reputation will take a hit as they can’t erase the mess.

While it’s true that brands have to be where people are and Social Networks/FB/Twitter/Blogs is where people spend more and more time according to the latest surveys, you can’t go there with the same agenda as before.

What could TGIF have done differently?
First, change the strategy.
It’s half of their problem.
I’m not an expert in their business but instead of trying to shout, they could have empowered employees locally to create their own SM properties (consistently with some corp guideline) and share with people that matters locally and leverage blogs/twitter/etc to find them. Find local people who have a passion for, I don’t know, but for example: party, budget dining, sports and so on…and adapt to their agenda.
They could have thought “target” (can’t be everything to everyone), “network” (network have structure), “relationships” (relationships brings loyalty).

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