I’m a sucker for a deal. Let’s just say I’m a cheapskate. That’s why I was excited when I heard that Chick-Fil-A stores were offering free chicken sandwiches nationwide today. So I went out and voted, excited to celebrate my vote with a nice chicken sandwich from Chick-Fil-A. Never mind the $5 in gas it cost me to drive there.
I get there after a long drive telling them about hearing online about them offering free sandwiches, showing my “I Voted Sticker”. They’re response was “Chick-Fil-A isn’t doing that – it was a ‘Media Error'”. I responded arguing it was all over the web, and all they could do is tell me their manager said they couldn’t give anything out.
So what did I do? I got on Twitter (well, actually FriendFeed, which goes to Twitter) and hashtagged it #ep and #votereport (as a joke), and shared with my 1400 or so friends on Twitter, along with anyone monitoring #votereport and #ep, not to mention the near 800 friends on Facebook and near 700 friends on FriendFeed how Chick-Fil-A had made this huge PR error. And now I’m blogging about it to at least 500 more people, and who knows if others share this with friends and how many more people end up seeing it.
Here’s the problem – I noted to them that I had heard the offer on the internet. That means I have reach. I most likely share things with my friends through this enormous, now social tool. This should signal that to them, regardless of who I am. I know not all their customers have heard of the offer, so therefore they aren’t going to go broke giving stuff away. However, if they would have just given away a free drink (which, from my fast food experience, costs practically nothing), or free fries, or even a coupon to come in next time for a free sandwich, they could have taken advantage of that reach. I would have been tweeting about my great experience getting free food at Chick-Fil-A, they would have gotten more customers and more people aware of their location, and this blog post would have been much more positive in their favor.
Social Media is powerful, people. Yes, I did end up buying my own sandwich and I still like their food, but they could have taken advantage of a much greater opportunity to spread the word about their brand and promote that particular location. Chick-Fil-A, and especially that particular location, missed out on a huge opportunity here.