When Going Viral Goes Bad–3 Cases for Social Media SWOT

Why Social Media SWOT Analysis is Crucial

Social Media case studies abound have hit the social media interwebs this week.  Three very powerful and different cases have reared their heads.  It is very important to conduct a SWOT analysis to analyze the environment in everything we do.  As the grey area between professional and personal continues to lessen, what we say offline is impacting every fiber of our lives more and more every day.

When Going Viral Goes Bad–3 Cases for Social Media SWOT


As someone who is blogging for Chevy, as part of the Gotta Love Chevy OK Blogging program, I am considering these things every day.  A well executed, communicated, and strategic plan like Chevy’s can go along way.


That’s where a SWOT Analysis comes in.  SWOT is a planning method and acronym that to evaluate the Strengths, Weakness, Opportunities and Threats involved in projects and decisions both personal and professional. By taking a few minuets to step back and scan the environment and evaluate the impact of a decision on our surroundings, we strive to make a better and more strategic decision.


The beauty about SWOT is that simply an organized way clear your head and evaluate a decision, environment, and process. that can take a little or as long as you like.  And because social media is instant and continuous, a SWOT Analysis can be an extremely valuable, versatile, and effective use of 2 minutes or 2 days of your time.


CASE ONE–Double Shot, Tulsa, OK.


@thedoubleshot.  On Monday, a single, solitary tweet led to a social media firestorm for a Tulsa, Oklahoma coffee shop.  Mothers and supporters of breast feeding in minutes all over the globe tweeted quickly and fiercely after the following was posted from @thedoubleshot’s twitter feed, “Notice: No breastfeeding at the DoubleShot. Thank you.”


Mothers, bloggers, local news media, and websites including the Consumerist picked up the story.  Brian Franklin, the owner of Double Shot has since deleted his original tweet and posted a retraction, yet the damage is done.  Coincidentally, this week is World Breastfeeding Week (Aug. 1-7th).




Using hash tags and live tweeting from conferences are a great way to virally spread the word increasing your online presence.  The Illinois Society for Human Resource Management felt so strongly about their views on using social media as a form of communication and promotion, that they brought in a team of bloggers to attend the Illinois State HR Conference but when tweets began flying during a HR session on social media, many felt that those microblogging and blogging were being extremely harsh, rude, and over critical.


Mike Vandervort, of the Human Race Horses and one of the Il SHRM conference bloggers weighed in.  “The organization sponsoring a social media squad takes some risk, including the possibility of generating controversy from time to time. The members of the social media team have a purpose, which primarily is the education of conference attendees and the external audience of titter followers and blog readers,” said Mike.


CASE THREE–#tacotuesday. Okahoma City, OK.


Another hash tag controversy.  Late last week, Chef Ryan Parrott, co-owner of the Oklahoma City restaurant, the Iguana Mexican Grill received a cease and desist order from Taco John’s demanding the local restaurant no longer use the hash tag #tacotuesday to promote their $1.00 tacos.  Taco John’s choose to respond via Twitter sending the local social media community (including myself) into action.  In just under 24 hours, 1,100 tweets, a Facebook Fan Page, a Twitter petition, newspaper and television media, and two spoof Twitter accounts have been created (@tacojohnz and @tacojohnspr).


The 452 location restaurant chain, Taco John’s is claiming infringement and violation of copyright.  Instead of quietly settling, the letter has set off a social media firestorm with hundreds of supporters arriving to celebrate Taco Tuesday at the Iguana Mexican Grill this week.  The Iguana has used #tacotuesday hash tag since July 2009 with great success.


The good news is that we can learn from situations and case studies such as this.  When it comes to social media and real time engagement, I recommend clients and companies follow three rules:


  1. Analyze your audience. Understand your audience, who your messages and actions will impact.  Anticipate actions, possible outcomes and plan your strategy using tools like SWOT Analysis.
  2. Evaluate & filter your content. After conducting your preliminary research, determine your content and different methods in which to respond or promote your message.
  3. Engage (or not). Reacting quickly and swiftly either retracting a statement or refraining from posting a message can be more powerful.  Each action and reaction depends on a unique set of situations and scenarios that you craft using your best judgment.


FTC Disclosure:  The Gotta Love Chevy Blogger Promotion is being sponsored by the Oklahoma Chevy Team Dealers.  Three women bloggers (including me) have been provided a Chevy Malibu vehicle to test drive for four weeks.  The program includes weekly fun activities or projects for us to complete.  Bloggers  been provided gift cards in which to complete these assignments.

Jessica Miller-Merrell

Learn more about Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, the founder of Workology, a workplace HR resource, and the host of the Workology Podcast. More of her blogs can be found here.

Reader Interactions


  1. John Jorgensen says

    Based on what happened in the ILSHRM session, one thing I have learned that the reader of the tweets is only seeing what is happening via the tweet. If some of the readers had been in that session (as I was), they would have understood those tweets more. I guess that may be something all of us who tweet need to realize. But that is something those who read tweets may have to take into consideration also.

    Either way I am looking at it as a great learning opportunity for tweeters, presenters, attendees and tweet readers.



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