Vodafone mocked by tweeters on its own website in social media blunder
Call me a nevous Nellie, but if my company had recently been subject to a series of protests and criticism about its tax arrangements, would I set up a website that allowed users of a social network where much of the criticism is spread to let their uncensored thoughts appear in a live feed?
Obviously not. But that’s exactly what Vodafone did over the weekend on Twitter.
For a period of time, anyone using the hashtag #mademesmile could get their tweet to appear on a dedicated Vodafone competition website that was launched to coincide with the 12 days of Christmas. Yes, the same Vodafone that has seen shops all over the country forced to close because of pickets organised by people who believe that the company has avoided paying billions of pounds in tax to the British treasury. Pickets that are often publicised via Twitter.
Even on a Sunday, you can imagine how quickly word spread that if you wanted to make a point about Vodafone and its tax bill via Twitter, you could make it appear on the Vodafone website. Tweets such as “The thought that Vodafone might lose more from civil disruption than it saved from tax avoidance #mademesmile”.
What’s even more incredible is that while British tweeters gleefully mocked Vodafone on its own website, the Vodafone UK twitterfeed carried on as if nothing were happening.
It all finished around lunchtime when the live feed was removed from the site, but not before dozens of screengrabs were doing the rounds, at least one of which was destined to be used in a presentation on how not to use social media, a tweeter promised.
I know that Vodafone feels it is unfairly targeted in the protests about its tax bill, but this kind of head in the sand approach is not going to help matters at all.