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May 13th, 2011 by Mythreyi Krishnan under Commentary

Social Media : Friend or Foe?

If you just read the title of this post and went “Huh?” let me remind you that Social media is not always as wonderful as it is made out to be. On the one hand, it allows companies and brands to directly engage with their customers and give them instant updates. On the other hand, these very benefits could come back to bite your head off if your social media efforts are mismanaged.

Honda Crosstour

Let me tell you the story of Honda. In 2010, they released photos of their product, the Accord Crosstour through their facebook page expecting to revel in the fanfare around their big launch. Unfortunately, for Honda, the fans on their page were none too pleased with the design of the vehicle and made no qualms about expressing this.


Social media offers the best real time reactions from consumers a brand could ever ask for but what happens when these reactions are largely negative? One way of looking at it is to say “Hey, it’s free publicity, at least people care enough about the product and the brand to say something”. On the other side, it is a very real possibility that your sales could be adversely affected because of it.

In Honda’s case, the backlash did not stop there.  Among the sea of negative comments, Eddie Okubo posted the comment below without disclosing his affinity with the company.

eddie honda

He was called out for astroturfing* and although Honda tried to do some damage control by deleting select posts and comments on their page, this incident will remain a cautionary tale for all.

*”Astroturfing” is the act of trying to boost one’s image online with fake comments, paid-for reviews, made-up claims and testimonials.

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