Social media fails and management

Social media is literally BAM and it’s out there. Which is brilliantly dangerous for the dissemination of information.

The recent turn of events with Hurricane Sandy has reminded me that brands jumping on a devastating disaster for their own benefit need to tread lightly – or reconsider doing it at all.

For those fashion lovers out there – you may have seen this tweet from Urban Outfitters. (link)

#ALLSOGGY? This storm blows? How delightful. The brand was clearly trying to make light of the situation, but when busting out a tweet that treads on the toes of those suffering from a huge natural disaster – you must remember what it says about you as a brand and the fact that it may result in media backlash as this one has.

Urban Outfitters wasn’t the only one caught red handed – GAP also tweeted this rather insensitive tribute

Fantastic that you would tell your consumers that while people are watching their house slide down the street in the torrent of water – you will be shopping!!!

Who is managing your brands social media channels? Have they been appropriately trained? You wouldn’t let someone with an interest in human anatomy operate on your heart would you? So make sure you aren’t letting someone with an interest in social media but no proper training run your channels.

I recently attended (virtually) the Social Media Examiner’s ‘Social media Success Summit 2012’ and there were some brilliant tips on the 8 ways to managing a social media crisis by Jay Baer.

1. Acknowledge it – In GAP’s defence they did attempt a half-hearted acknowledgement that their tweet was perhaps not the best timing…

Acknowledgement needs to happen immediately, regardless of whether the crisis is something you have all the information on, or whether you are still waiting. Your consumers want you to say you are aware and looking into it.

2. Fight social media fire with social media water – Never respond in a different place from where the issue first arose, for example with GAP they responded with a tweet – start with this and then continue to douse the chatter flame in all other channels

3. Be sorry – it’s that simple, the fastest way to gain forgiveness is to be truly simple. GAP would have benefited from being truly sorry instead of trying to say they didn’t mean to. How many celebs have we forgiven for their insane behaviour over the years just by seeing them apologise and be truly sorry?

4. Create a crisis FAQ – nominate a place that houses all of the facts – somewhere you can direct people to a link that will answer all of their questions rather than responding to each question as it arises.

5. Build a pressure relief valve – People want to be able to rant and vent – they will do it anyway so why not create a best case scenario and have them venting on your venue that you control.

6. Know when to take it offline – it’s about damage control – keyboard heroes are aplenty, so remember that you can encourage them to contact you via email or phone to discuss the matter further.

7. Arm your army – make sure all of your employees are head of the story – via internal blogging, emails etc. – they need to know what they are talking about.

8. Learn your lessons – document every element of the crisis and use these to educate your team about what went wrong and how to avoid and better manage it next time.

Reading this and feeling like your social media ‘army’ needs some up skilling? Zuni offers social media training to a broad range of clients across multiple industries including music, education and pharmaceutical. Get in touch if you’d like a tailored social media management session for your team.


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