Last week, Skittles learned an important message: if you don’t know about social media/networking, don’t use it to promote your product. Skittles decided to jump on the social media bandwagon by making its homepage background the Skittle’s Facebook page, Twitter feed featuring tweets about Skittles, and the Skittles Wikipedia entry.Skittles was hoping that their audience would start talking about them on these social media sites, which they did, but didn’t expect it to backlash against them. Many of the Skittles tweets contained racial slurs, profanities, and harsh words about Skittles.
I think it’s great that Skittles wants to use social media to promote its product–many companies use social media sites to promote their organization or product. However, I think the way Skittles used social media was a bad move on their part. Sure, people are now talking about their company, but the focus got a away from the product and on to their social media mishaps.
Shiv Singh, author of the post “Did Skittles Scuttle its brand? Time will Tell,” makes some great points about how Skittles could have used social media to their advantage, without turning it into a “what not to do in social media” case study. He basically said that Skittles didn’t target its audience: it basically assumed that its customers are on Twitter, when really, only some of its audience is on Twitter. This is the same for Facebook. He also says that Skittles was more interested in having people look at its page and observing the fact that they are trying to incorporate social media to their marketing strategy, that they were actually forgetting to fuel conversations and participation by its audience.
Although Skittles has changed its page and is now incorporating social media to its advantage, it should have tested the waters of the social media pool before taking the plunge into the deep end.