Koodos does good social marketing badly

Today Koodos did a one-off one-pound sale. They pushed it on Twitter and then on Facebook. They sold it as a treasure hunt, inviting fans to dig around the site to find their bargains. And they promised hints and tips to help us find those bargains.

In reality, it wasn’t anything like that. They posted five Twitter updates. The first told us the £1 sale would start at 1pm. The second told us that 7 designer pieces were now in the sale. The third kindly informed us that 2 of the 7 pieces has sold out. The forth told us 5 more pieces were being added. And the final tweet told disappointed followers that the last batch of £1 sale items were being added.

Over on Facebook, things were even worse. They were told about the £1 sale after it had started – and that was the only update they got. Over 40 comments later, they still hadn’t replied to confused fans who didn’t know what was going on.

The result? A very busy, very slow website. A search for a needle in a haystack. A small number of happy customers and a massive number of unhappy customers.

So where did Koodos go wrong?

Empty promises
If there’s one thing a social marketer should never do, it’s lie! Perhaps you’ve noticed that folk aren’t very forgiving on the social scene. It’s their domain – and any company that breaks the rules is likely to face a torrent of abuse.

You might expect to hear things like this:

‘Poor process @koodos_fashion unlike other online retailers your items aren’t reserved when in basket. Annoying.’ (@Em_A on Twitter)

‘Surely this is a publicity scam. The Outnet did the same thing.By the time the sale went on, everything was sold out and the website supposedly crashed. Koodos wrong wrong wrong!!!’ (Anne Damasus on Facebook)

‘what it is, is clearly a shameless publicity stunt. Exactly the same thing happened with secretsales/outnet etc etc’ (Melanie Ride on Facebook)

Little to no PR
It’s called online PR for a reason. The aim is to get people talking about your brand. When you run a promotion like this, you can gain hundreds, even thousands of fans – and potentially hundreds, even thousands of customers. Look at Clothing at Tesco, their Friday Frenzy event sent fan figures rocketing. But Koodos still only have 213 fans – and the promotion only inspired 6 tweets, 5 of which were complaints or expressions of confusion. So all in all, it’s a social networking fail.

Poor planning
But the worst thing was the event itself. The idea had such potential. A £1 designer sale – who wouldn’t want to get involved. But a £1 designer sale that means you have to hunt through a frustratingly slow site, with no clue as to where you should look? Not quite so appealing.

At the start, there were just 7 pieces in the sale. So customers really were hunting for a needle in a haystack. 2 of those 7 sold out in the first hour. They added 5 more, but didn’t make it any easier to find them. The last products went on at 4pm – by which time the site had slowed down as people lost complete interest.

There probably are some very happy people out there, but there are also some very angry ones. The general consensus is that the promotion was badly run%