UPDATE: Rogers has changed its promoted tweet in response to the negative backlash from consumers:
ORIGINAL: Rogers Communications is experiencing what McDonalds did in January - a major social media backlash.
The Toronto telecommunications company attempted to promote its new Rogers One Number service through a promoted tweet: "With #Rogers1Number, 1 is the only number you’ll need! Register for this new free service." But consumers took the hashtag in another direction.
This morning, unhappy customers used the hashtag to voice their complaints. With one person calling it the "worst use of a promoted tweet I've seen," angry tweeters said such unkind things as, "what an epic fail in social media" and "Rogers doesn't bill their customers properly."
Unfortunately for social media marketers, it's difficult to anticipate how the Twittersphere will react to a campaign. However, a man named Aaron tweeted that "you shouldn't rely on social media marketing if everybody and their mother hates you," suggesting that Rogers - and McDonalds, for that matter - may not have the right brand perception to give a public voice to their customers (and ex-customers).
Also today, Rogers has announced a "fantastic" promotion for those buying LTE-enabled iPads. Users can apparently get unlimited data for two months for $5 per month with their Tablet Flex Rate Plan and then four months of double data, up to 10GB, afterward. Rogers says this deal is no strings attached - no activation fee and no term commitment. The promotion is always backward-compatible with 3G iPad 2s.
UPDATE 2: More fun tweets from users.
UPDATE 3: We have been informed that Rogers issued a response to the Globe and Mail, who first reported on the social media campaign flop.
Keith McArthur, vice-president of social media at Rogers, said this was the first time Rogers had used a promoted tweet and expected that not all comments would be positive.
"We're seeing the reaction today and we're listening to it and responding to it," Mr. McArthur said, adding Rogers would be responding individually to customers who have complained over Twitter.