McDonald’s Lebanon (@McDonaldsLeb) invited an Israeli citizen, Jeremie Berrebi (@jberrebi), to have a McCafe this morning on Twitter. To make this clear: This is not a political post, this is about a social media failure.
Listening is very important in the digital world and it should be part of your social media strategy. However, this should be made efficiently and strategically and here we talk about “Active Listening”: You should listen carefully to what the community is saying/demanding and check carefully who are the authors before engaging in a conversation. A prior check is not only required to spot a fake account but, also to get demographics info and position the user in (or out of) your target audience.
This story reflects the “dark side” of digital automation: It all started with a Lebanese tweep who published a paper.li tweet automatically tagging Jeremie Berrebi. [Paper.li is an automated content curator that will create an e-newspaper aggregating articles shared on Twitter. Those tweets also include few names of users featured in the publication.] Another Lebanese user, not featured in the automated publication, replied (in a humorous tone I suppose) that this “issue” needs a cup of coffee. And here is where McDonald’s Lebanon, that seems to automatically reply to local users mentioning coffee, entered the conversation by suggesting to all three of them to get a McCafe. The fast food chain restaurant didn’t take the time to check who they are talking to and thus didn’t realize they are inviting an Israeli tweep, who is randomly there due to automation, to visit one of their branch in Lebanon which is impossible for him.
A bit complicated? Let’s make it shorter: J. Berrebi, an Israeli citizen was automatically tagged in a tweet that led to a conversation in which McDonald’s Lebanon invited him and other Lebanese people for a McCafe.
This would still be a social media fail if it was a European or Australian person but, we can’t deny that it is more dangerous for a business in Lebanon to interact with Israeli. The tensions between the two countries are quite important and a big part of the Lebanese citizens would be annoyed by this.
McDonald’s Lebanon’s social media activity is handled by Think Media Labs that proved to do a good work for McD on Facebook but it seems they need to be more careful on Twitter.