Twitter users flood #AskLaneBryant with criticism, snark

The brand’s attempt to discuss its offerings and messages ended with perhaps more feedback than its CMO bargained for.

Lane Bryant’s request for a conversation ended in a deluge of feedback, much of it negative.

On Tuesday, the retail company’s chief marketing officer, Brian Beitler, hosted an hour-long Twitter chat and asked users to tweet questions under the hashtag #AskLane Bryant.

It didn’t take long for Twitter users to flood the hashtag with tough questions, snark and criticism:

To the brand’s credit, Beitler addressed several concerns during the hour, and the brand’s account tweeted its thanks for the “candidness” from chat participants:

Lane Bryant’s social media team has also been responding to tweets that question or criticize its #ImNoAngel campaign. Some users even complimented the brand’s effort:

Others said the chat did nothing to address underlying problems brought to Beitler’s attention:

PR and marketing pros may say that Twitter chats and branded hashtags are never a smart idea, but there’s no denying their power to boost conversation about your organization. Brand managers can take a few lessons from Lane Bryant’s Twitter chat.

It will probably not go as planned, so if you want to interact with consumers under a customized hashtag, be prepared to relinquish control of the conversation. Also be prepared to handle criticism, and respond when appropriate.

Beitler didn’t address comments that slammed the brand, but responded to a few negative comments during the hour. Doing so showed consumers—and critics—that he was listening. That’s important for any organization who professes to keep their consumers in mind.

Brand managers should also remember that an organization’s actions following a Twitter hashtag effort are integral to building consumers’ trust. Time will tell whether Lane Bryant will integrate its feedback into future marketing campaigns and product offerings. During that period, Twitter users will be watching.

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