Friday, 6 March 2009
The new Skittles website has caused uproar in the social media community over the past week. They have transformed their website into a sort of social hub, trying to encourage consumers to interact with the brand and its content in their digital 'comfort zones'. The 'hub' encorporates all of the most influential social media frameworks; Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Youtube and Wikipedia.
Its difficult to determine whether this was a good or bad move for Skittles. The site has generated a massive buzz but on the whole the sentiment is pretty negative. Ordinarily I would say that the only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about but I'm not so sure if this is the case with social media.
Having Twitter as their homepage backlashed somewhat with people tweeting things such as 'are skittles making paedophiles obese?' So instead they now have facebook as the homepage and Twitter can be found under chatter.
The whole issue begs the question, 'are brands welcome in digital social spaces?' One of the main appeals of social networking is the fact it is all user-generated content, a supposedly corporate free environment , however, with the massive influence that social media has had on our lives it is inevitable that brands want to tap into this consumer goldmine.
The thing is brands need to tread very carefully with how they approach entering the social media world; those seen to be stumbling around ignorantly will surely get their asses kicked!
I think the key is to keep your communication personal as this is a crucial element for social networking sites. Take Twitter for example, brands who have reaped any sort of benefit from this are those with real people at the other end... e.g. Scott from Ford or liveguy from Vodafone.