I Would Like My Burrito With Beans and Fail

@Kevin | Social

The worst social media job on the planet had to be working for Chipolte this weekend. They ran a special where customers could  buy one get one on burritos, salad, or tacos when checking in through Facebook places. Besides having the founder of Foursquare trying to get a fan revolt going over their choice of platform for the special, they had to deal with a user base that didn’t understand the promotion and how it worked.

Chipotle’s social media team should be commended on their response times and actions when trying to educate the base on how to check in and responding to the numerous “check ins” on their wall. It couldn’t have been a fun weekend, but they stayed on top of it; every time I checked the page, they had just responded to a fresh batch of comments. However, it needs to be said that this could have been avoided with better planning on their end. (It should be noted that there were plenty of issues with this campaign out of their control.)

Chipotle should have combined their Facebook Page with their Places pages.

One of the options as a brand for Facebook Places is to combine your Facebook Page with your Places page. (Here is an example.) With multi location, companies you can roll multiple places into one page. The advantage is you can do national coupons to all of your Places pages that way. (Of course, if you want to have individual promotions for each location this isn’t the way to go.) Chipotle rolling everything into one Facebook page would have made more sense for running a large national campaign like this.

Facebook needs to do better educating the consumer about Places.

When deals launched for Places, the only applications it was available on was the iPhone and Android. The Blackberry app just launched in the last week or so, and for people on other platforms they need to use the mobile website version of Facebook to check in. There is still a large amount of confusion around what to do and how to do it.

In looking at the stats of some of my clients, the rate of checkins on Foursquare are still out pacing the amount of checkins on Facebook. The large user base goes to Facebook, but the conditioning of the customers go to Foursquare. Eventually this will change, but not without brands and Facebook doing a better job educating the user.

Chipotle could do a better job educating their customers.

On their Facebook page they had the original event post on the 16th and then another post on the 21st. Besides replies to complaints on their wall, that was it. Other posts communicating how to do this properly would have helped quell some of the issues around the campaign as the sheer amount of questions and complaints overwhelmed the page. Another solution would have been to temporarily make the default view of the page the posts by the property so people could see the valuable information.

In the end there is a little bit everyone can learn from this: the brand, Facebook, and other marketers. You have to give Chipotle credit though in being an early adopter and trying to aggressively launch their promotion. Their team responded well, but in the end, this promotion was rife with issues and a great teachable moment for a lot of people.

What did you think about the Chipotle promotion?