#Manship4002 Understanding Online Firestorms - Lecture 16
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#Manship4002 Understanding Online Firestorms - Lecture 16



#Manship4002 Understanding Online Firestorms - Lecture 16

#Manship4002 Understanding Online Firestorms - Lecture 16



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#Manship4002 Understanding Online Firestorms - Lecture 16 #Manship4002 Understanding Online Firestorms - Lecture 16 Presentation Transcript

  • Understanding Online Firestorms #Manship4002
  • The good with the bad  Social media = highly beneficial environment for word-of-mouth (WOM) propagation of new ideas and products  BUT negative WOM and complaints travel faster and spread wider than ever before  “In reaction to any questionable statement or activity, social media users can create huge waves of outrage within just a few hours. These so-called online firestorms pose new challenges for marketing communications.” (Pfeffer, Zorbach, Carley, 2014)
  • Online Firestorms  “In social media, negative opinions about products or companies are formed by and propagated via thousands or millions of people within hours.”  Weinergate  Ashton Kutcher
  • Online Firestorms  online firestorm = “sudden discharge of large quantities of messages containing negative WOM and complaint behavior against a person, company, or group in social media networks” (Pfeffer, Zorbach, Carley, 2014)  Similar to the way rumors are circulated  Online firestorms can be based on rumors (unconfirmed) or actually events (confirmed)  Online firestorms often have a high affective (emotional) nature
  • Social media and firestorms  A survey conducted by the Fuqua School of Business, Duke University, published in February 2012, shows that 7.4% of marketing budgets in the USA are is currently being spent on social media.  Companies are using social media for brand building.  But sometimes negative events or rumors on social media can have unforeseen and uncontrollable consequences for companies or a brand‟s image
  • Examples  #McDStories – this hashtag promotion by McDonalds on Twitter quickly became a means for people to discuss funny and negative stories about the company. McDonald‟s decided 2 h later to switch the hashtag to #meetthefarmers, but the damage had already been done: more than 1000 detractors had posted their negative experiences.  The firestorm received instant coverage by traditional media  Why do you think this happened? Would could McDonalds have done to prevent this?
  • Be careful with your hashtags! “There are hash tags for just about everything, and it can be pretty confusing to try to figure out which one belongs to what. Celeb Boutique, an online clothing shop, tried to send out a promotional text earlier this year about #Aurora. Regrettably, that wasn‟t the right one, and their clothing advertisement was posted to the account created for the tragic shooting in Colorado.” http://blog.kissmetrics.com/social-media-can-destroy/
  • What can you do?  Slow down and think. Check your hashtags. Be prepared with social media guidelines and online crisis management plans.
  • Opinions spreading social media  Twitter is one of the “fastest” social media platforms  The half-life of Twitter memes and hashtags are on the order of minutes (around 20-60 minutes). This means: you have very little time to correct or respond to a negative tweet before the damage is already done.  Twitter consists of large social network clusters that often work as “echo chambers” for word-of-mouth, both positive AND negative.  Negative events on Twitter are often picked up by traditional media: “Twitter, for example, is frequently used as a kind of „radar‟ by classic media, such as news publishers or television stations to pick up stories (often from eyewitnesses) at a very early stage.”  For this reason, Twitter may be the wrong place to try out new messages, campaigns or hashtags that we haven’t tested, etc.
  • “The emergence of online firestorms seems to bear a striking similarity to the online dynamics connected with uprisings (e.g., the „Arab Spring‟) or social movements (e.g., „Occupy Wall Street‟) as in all cases, mass concern, the cult of the negative (anti-incumbents), and information propagation can create massive echo chambers.” (Pfeffer, Zorbach, Carley, 2014)
  • What can you do when faced with an online firestorm?  Keep calm and maintain your composure.  DO respond quickly, in a calm, transparent manner.  Things not to do: „state no comment‟ and „ignore the rumor  Don‟t try to overbear or “hush” complaints. Let people talk, listen to them, but also be heard in a positive way.  DO respond. Be empathetic and show people you care.  Have social media guidelines!  Interventions are often required in online networks that lack diversity (people with similar opinions may all echo the same negative sentiment).
  • What can you do when faced with an online firestorm?  Do respond on the platform where the firestorm or crisis first broke. If the firestorm is happening on Twitter, don‟t post a YouTube video apology, for example. Respond on Twitter!  “You never know where a crisis will break, however, so you must have presences in every social outpost, even if you‟re not routinely participating there. For example, are you ready for a Pinterest crisis? It could happen.” http://www.convinceandconvert.com/social-media-crisis-2/dont-be- scared-be-prepared-how-to-manage-a-social-media-crisis/
  • Responding to an online firestorm  If you can find key influencers in an online firestorm (those posting negative comments with many followers, for example), respond positively to these key influencers.  Reply once, and then try to take the conversation to a private place (direct message on Twitter, e-mail, online chat, phone call, etc.) to listen to the complaint and try to resolve the problem.  Ex. Filmmaker Kevin Smith sent a series of exasperated Tweets after he'd been “kicked off” a Southwest Airlines flight for being "too fat". Southwest responded on Twitter, asked for a DM [direct message] conversation with Smith, and notified Twitter that they would be calling Smith at home later that night.
  • http://stuartjdavidson.com/social-media-crisis-management-infographic/
  • What can you do to PREVENT online firestorms?  Maintain proactive and positive communication with journalists from traditional media (who are also on social media networks like Twitter)  Maintain diverse social media networks (?)  Maintain positive relationships with Twitter followers and “fans” for a long time before the first “dark clouds” roll in. (In other words, cull positive relationships online ALL THE TIME.)  “a company needs to be proactive and create fan networks, identify trusted information brokers to spread news about their company, and develop contingency plans for organizing a collective social information response before they are needed (in a firestorm).”
  • What can you do to PREVENT online firestorms?  “A company that is well connected in the social media sphere and that has established a diverse array of fan groups and channels for direct dialog with its customers is far more crisis-proof.”  “In the case of an attack on its reputation, the company can remain calm and can instantly reach and activate its loyal customers and fans to defend its image before further damage is done.”
  • Assume the worst?  Companies must assume that upset customers and even employees will take to social networks to voice their complaints.  Try to deal with upset customers, if possible, BEFORE they complain on social media. If that‟s not possible, respond as quickly as possible before their online complaints become even MORE negative.  How can we anticipate online firestorms?
  • Discussion Exercise  Get into groups of three  Discuss: How can we move beyond reactive online firestorm responses? How can we be proactive, preventing online firestorms before they occur, or before they get worse? (Examples: Southwest Airline’s “Overweight Policy” incident; McDonald’s hashtag incident.) Come up with 3-4 specific recommendations of your own. Present as a group.
  • Your Recommendations #Manship4002  Hire a Twitter social media team  Monitor social media continuously for complaints  Have social media networks at various branches of the organization (targeted social media activity based on location)  Training employees on social media management (teaching crisis management to new employees, so they understand the impact that dissatisfied customers can have online.)  Don‟t respond to every single negative tweet (choose carefully).  Respond positively (not defensive!)  Highlight positive customer testimonials via social media  Not robo tweets!  Maintain good relationships with followers on an ongoing basis  Know your followers  Conduct small focus groups to test your hashtags