Demystifying social media - McKinsey Quarterly - Marketing & Sales - Digital Marketing:
Last year, for example, a hoax photograph posted online claimed that McDonald’s was charging African-Americans an additional service fee. The hoax first appeared on Twitter, where the image rapidly went viral just before the weekend as was retweeted with the hashtag #seriouslymcdonalds. It turned out to be a working weekend for the McDonald’s social-media team. On Saturday, the company’s director of social media released a statement through Twitter declaring the photograph to be a hoax and asking key influencers to “please let your followers know.” The company continued to reinforce that message throughout the weekend, even responding personally to concerned Tweeters. By Sunday, the number of people who believed the image to be authentic had dwindled, and McDonald’s stock price rose 5 percent the following day.
Responding in order to counter negative comments and reinforce positive ones will only increase in importance. The responsibility for taking action may fall on functions outside marketing, and the message will differ depending on the situation. No response can be quick enough, and the ability to act rapidly requires the constant, proactive monitoring of social media—on weekends too. By responding rapidly, transparently, and honestly, companies can positively influence consumer sentiment and behavior.