By now most of you have heard this story about how Taco Bell is getting sued for making false claims about the quality of their taco meat. One customer is claiming their meat is only 34% beef! Let’s hope that’s not true…

I’m not here to defend their food quality, but what’s worth noting is their social response to the claims about the quality of their meat. The team behind Taco Bell went after this one before it even hit the news, buying newspaper ads and attacking the social media front.

They admittedly took a risk here by making the issue more public than it may have been on it’s own, but they also squashed rumors before the millions of social media minions had a chance spread the bad news.

So what did they do?

  1. First, their CEO released an official Youtube video statement stating that the claims made about their meat quality are false. They also purchase a few keywords in Youtube so that anytime the word taco or taco bell was searched, this video show up first. Very powerful
  2. They purchased promoted Tweets to spread the word on Twitter, linking to their youtube video.
  3. They responded to any Tweets regarding the false claims, making a personal connection with any concerned Tweeps.
  4. They Made official statements on their Facebook fan page to ensure that their fans were educated.

In the end, the will probably lose a few customers, or maybe even a lot. But I’m confident they greatly reduced the potential damage it could’ve cause had they not been so proactive with their social media response. Who knows, they may have actually gained a few new customers through it all.

Their efforts are a great example of how it’s not OK to wait for the disaster and then play cleanup. Likewise, it’s just flat out dumb to underestimate the power of the millions of bloggers and tweeters out there.

What lessons about social media can we learn here? Leave a comment below!

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