Rogers marketers feel the wrath of Twitter

March 16, 2012

A Rogers Communications social media promotion is creating a lot of buzz, but not in the way the company likely hoped.

Friday morning, the hashtag #Rogers1Number was at the top of Twitter's list of trending topics as a promoted tweet. The tweets, however, were not celebrating Rogers' new service, which it touted in its tweet as "the only number you'll need!"

Instead, the search term had become a rallying cry for customers to gripe publicly about Rogers' customer service.

"Rogers doesn't bill their customers properly. Tried to over bill me by $500 a month. I switched to Bell & had no problems," wrote George Evans.

#Rogers1Number is probably the worst use of a promoted tweet I've seen thus far. Who thought this would be a good idea?" wondered Devin Wiles in a tweet.

"Kudos to #Rogers1Number for showing the world exactly what an epic #Fail in #SocialMedia is all about. Gold Star!" tweeted David Lonergan, suggesting a new hashtag for the company: #FireYourSocialMediaAgency.

Keith McArthur, vice-president of social media at Rogers, said this was the first time Rogers had used a promoted tweet and expected that not all comments would be positive.

"We're seeing the reaction today and we're listening to it and responding to it," Mr. McArthur said, adding Rogers would be responding individually to customers who have complained over Twitter.

Twitter offers promoted tweets to companies on a cost-per-engagement basis, by which companies pay a fee when someone retweets, replies to, clicks or favorites the promotion. According to Twitter's website, "Just like organic Tweets, relevant and interesting messages are rewarded above all else. Tweets that engage and resonate with users will appear more frequently."

Of course, a company has no way to know what sort of reaction - positive or negative - the public will have when it launches a social media campaign.

And it's certainly not the first time Twitter users have put their own spin on a well-meaning marketing campaign. Last month, McDonald's saw a similar backlash when it promoted the hashtag #MeetTheFarmers, hoping to highlight the stories of the company's suppliers.

Below, a look at some of the backlash against the Rogers campaign ( mobile users, click here):

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