Media Relations Or Media Disasters


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What do you do when someone post a negative comment on your page. Do you delete it? Review case studies of recent media disasters and success from this last year and learn how to respond to negative criticism about your brand. Also learn how to monitor what people are saying about you in the social media and web realm with various tools.

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  • After the post, no other word appeared about it. And the Student Government website say a drastic increase in hits. Plus, they tripled the amount of signatures needed and overwhelmed Springfield with more students than any other school.
  • Whenever I talk to various colleagues at the University, how to handle negative criticism is the number one question I am asked. Consumers can quickly turn to to dissatisfied consumers in the manor of seconds and take to the social airwaves and vent. Major brands like Nestle, BP, Domino’s and Southwest Airlines, have born the brunt of the unbridled power of social media as a platform for disgruntled consumers to rally
  • You can never fully “control” what your customers say about your brand on social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, blogs, and forums — nor would you want to. After all, the biggest benefit of social media is to allow your customers to express their opinions and talk about your products and services among themselves, creating a loyal fan base that spreads the word about your brand to their friends and family. However, there are several actionable strategies you can take to avoid — or circumvent — a negative PR storm about your brand online.
  • Here are 7 tips to give your brand the best possible chance at avoiding a social media PR debacle, and strategies for quickly handling problems if they arise.
  • Listening is a 100% must in managing any crisis. Consumers expect brands to pass the buck and not own up to problems so surprise them, stand up and own your mistakes. Customers are typically seeking accountability and accurate, direct information from the primary spokespeople of the brands they trust. Always admit to your mistakes even if it hurts your ego and brand image. If consumers want to hear excuses, they can get it from someone else. Be sincere and apologize at the right time and place. Since the disaster probably got blown out of proportions on social media, why not address the issues on the very same platform? If your consumers were making noise on Facebook, they probably couldn’t care less about what you say on the newspapers.
  • Earlier this year, the Nestle company’s Facebook page was inundated with posters from Greenpeace concerned over the company’s use of palm oil harvested in Indonesia. According to the Greenpeace posters, Nestle was guilty of deforestation in their production of palm oil and other environmental no-no’s.
  • A Greenpeace rep created a video, a rather gory one, depicting an office worker eating a KitKat and dribbling blood, and uploaded it to YouTube. Followed by 62 other videos attracting 1.2 million views.
  • Nestle’s response was to ask that YouTube take it down and to post on its Facebook page that such use was in violation of their trademark. This resulted in even more postings on its Facebook page from protesters. Nestle’s responded by removing the negative posts.
  • Which of course, made things worse. Twitter alone received a re: Nestle Palm Oil comment every 15 minutes, #Nestle and #KitKat
  • Nestle initially responded by saying the supplier of palm oil was terminated, but the community remained skeptical. And the post continued.
  • Then Nestle social media marketing team lost it’s temper, firing back.
  • Happened 1 week before Easter1.2 million views on youtube95,000 Nestle fans seeing negative messageNegative Twitter attackWall Street Journal picked up and ran with the storyAgain, 1 week before Easter.
  • Last spring, the Delta Sigma Phi fraternity house burned down two weeks before finals. The copy I received from Student Affairs had the Delta Sigma Theta. But unknowingly, I posted it.
  • Quickly there after the community corrected me.
  • Do not use the same social media management tool to monitor your personal and professional profilesPeople can monitor social media without being adminsStay attentive and involvedAvoid the convenience factorAccept the fact that mistakes will happen.
  • This post appear in Chrysler’s feed
  • And entry level staffer who forgot to change his mobile app log in.But what does this say about Chrysler’s response about a their account being compromised.
  • Redcross and alcohol? Not a good combination
  • The twitter community joined in the fun.
  • And the company hit a marketing bonanza. In the end, everyone forgot about the Red Cross’s drinking binge.
  • On a event promotion during Black History Month, we had someone post “Why are blacks the only ones with their own months?”Quickly there after, a community member corrected with person with other cultural months.
  • A slip of the fingers caused the post about students on “Winter Break” to be spelled “Winter Brake”. Since we are one of the premier colleges teaching future educators, I was quickly corrected.Darin Sellers I think I have winter brakes too!!Wow, we got us some good learnin at ISU.Just got an email about this from a Bradley grad that said, "if you can't go to school go to State”Tried to recover with “Illinois State University Yes, breaks. Sorry to everyone, especially the English majors. My fingers got away from me.” but they kept comingISU really does stand for I Screwed UpAnd, of course, we can always tell folks that we're back to normalUntil a fan turned the conversation with “Illinois State STATE your passion for helping children cope with violence and poverty...these students did! As volunteers at HuchuyYachaq Community Center in Cusco, Peru (in a very poor neighborhood on the outskirts of town called Los Hermanos Ayer) these Illinois State University students helped to provide a safe haven for kids in need. Check out the slide show!”
  • A great suit can help you impress a VP or win that new client account, the same is true with your social media site.Make sure they find all the information they could possible need and then throw-in the stuff they might normally look for elsewhere. Link to reviews of your products, highlight praise received by bloggers, upload your videos and podcasts, and make sure all content is RSS enabled and social media sharable.
  • On April Fools Day, the students decided to through a part. A campus wide party with over 20,000 people expected to converge on the campus. For fear of comments being placed on the Facebook page, we scheduled post to go out every 2 hours to keep information moving on our page. That way if a bad comment got posted, it would quickly move down the list and be overshadowed by all the good news posted.
  • If online commentary starts to trend negative rapidly, don’t be afraid to acknowledge questions and negative comments in order to assure consumers you’re working toward an answer. Start with an official blog post on your website. Share that through your multimedia outlet. Even after you’ve delivered an “official” response, go back to unhappy individuals and point them back to the post by speaking personally and directly with them. Speed and honesty are what customers value most.Some simple guidelinesIf you wouldn’t say it when answering a phone call at work…If you wouldn’t say it in a meeting…If you wouldn’t say it in a job interview…You probably shouldn’t say it in social media.But remember, While many people will advise you to be responsive and quick to clear up the mess, there is always wisdom behind the advice, “think twice before you act.” You should always listen carefully before making any decisions. You cannot afford another mistake on a platform so viral.
  • February 13 was like every other day at Southwest Airlines. That is, until they refused to seat Kevin Smith on his flight from Oakland to Burbank. The reason was because his extra large size would hamper the ‘comfort and safety’ of other passengers. He was of the opinion that he offered no ‘safety risk’ as he fit between the armrests of the seat. He blew off steam by tweeting about the inconvenience and embarrassment he felt at having been removed from the plane.Turns out Kevin Smith was no ordinary passenger. An award winning Director of movies like ‘Dogma’, ‘Chasing Amy’, & ‘Cop Out’, he has over a million followers on Twitter. Tweet tweet!
  • February 13 was like every other day at Southwest Airlines. That is, until they refused to seat Kevin Smith on his flight from Oakland to Burbank. The reason was because his extra large size would hamper the ‘comfort and safety’ of other passengers. He was of the opinion that he offered no ‘safety risk’ as he fit between the armrests of the seat. He blew off steam by tweeting about the inconvenience and embarrassment he felt at having been removed from the plane.Turns out Kevin Smith was no ordinary passenger. An award winning Director of movies like ‘Dogma’, ‘Chasing Amy’, & ‘Cop Out’, he has over a million followers on Twitter. Tweet tweet!
  • A post appeared on the University's Main Facebook page about a student with a problem in Campus Housing. I contact a colleague in Campus Housing and they posted a response. It was a day later, but it was the accurate information.
  • What’s the worst case scenario your brand could possibly suffer in a social media PR meltdown? That situation probably won’t occur, but by imagining the worst, you can craft “first line” responses ahead of time, so you won’t be caught off guard. That way you’ll be well prepared if sentiment around your brand suddenly begins to trend negative. This kind of brand take-down, should it occur, happens extremely fast — in a matter of hoursList down the things people are dissatisfied with so that you can address them appropriately.
  • Taco Bell received its 15 minutes of fame, and 2 million views on YouTube. But not for what you’d hope. A video of rats running around a Taco Bell’s store in New York was posted on YouTube. Just minutes after, duplicates and new versions started to spread across the. As a result, customers raised concerns about its cleanliness and Taco bell’s stock price and 7,000 franchisees sales were affected.What would be your response?
  • Every brand participating in social media should have a community management plan in place. Map out crucial “Terms of Service” such as: What’s not tolerated in conversations about your brand. Things like foul and abusive language, threats against individuals, hateful speech, flame comments about products or services, and similar comments are best handled as strictly forbidden. Make sure this plan maps to the Terms of Service for each channel in which you are active, such as Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, or YouTube, all of which have their own guidelines on unacceptable content. Afterwards, make sure every member of your team and your chain of command have a copy of the Community Management Plan. This allows everyone to understand how you are going to moderate the potential issues equally.
  • Michael Arrington, owner of the popular tech blog, TechCrunch, was experiencing extremely bad service from Comcast, one of the leading Internet service providers in the United States. His connection was down and apparently, Comcast was not much of a help. SoMichael told more than 12,000 of his followers who were mainly tech savvy people (Comcast’s target segment) about the situation. 20 minutes later, Comcast’s customer service gave Michael a call and resolved the situation. Customer service is moving into real time engagement with customers. Monitoring the social media space can make every difference in the success of your business. Whether it was just coincidence or the efforts of social media monitoring, Comcast managed to save its goodwill from the exponential damage of 12,000 followers.
  • Last winter, the University shut down from the snow storm. Not something that happens to often, especially for two days. On the third day, we reopend. The students were outraged, followed by the parents.“Poor Decision ISU....... Not because we want the day off. Its down right foolish to put you students in harms way like that. Have you looked at your facilities lately? Your own lots are not even clean. Bradley got it right. You should follow suit.”“President Bowman....Shame on you. When we sent our daughter to ISU we were assured that her safety was a primary concern for you and your university; however that doesn't appear to be the case. It is irresponsible of you to expect your students not only to travel on roads that are not completely cleared, but to also walk to class in extremely dangerous temperatures. Safety for your students at this time is paramount; it's time to reconsider and close the school until it is safe for ALL of your students to return to class.”
  • The ranting went on for two days until we posted a reply, directing them on who to call. The head of our Media Relations. “Primary campus sidewalks, parking lots and streets adjacent to campus are in good shape. We understand off campus locations may still need attention. We trust our Redbirds will use caution and good judgment traveling to and from campus. Additional questions may be fielded by calling the Office of the President at (309) 438-5677.”Their phones rang off the hook for two hours straight after that, but not a single post to Facebook or Twitter.
  • Plan. Plan. Plan. Decide ahead of time what steps your company will take if a flare-up occurs that exceed your Community Management Plan. Knowing ahead of time how you’ll respond to negative comments takes the “panic factor” out of potential negative commentary. Map out the following steps:Decide which type of comments require immediate response (such as a huge flame against your brand, a customer service rant, or a nasty rumor) which are best left alone for the time being (a few negative product reviews, a customer discussion comparing your brand unfavorably to another, etc.). Which are indicative of a larger trend, and which are singular expressions of dissatisfaction or concern?Decide who will respondKnow where to get the answersRole play. Get out of the office and role play out different scenarios with your team to figure out what potential disasters might occur
  • Two brilliant Domino’s Pizza employees thought it was funny to film themselves abusing takeaway food and breaking the hygiene standards in one of Domino’s Pizza store kitchen. The video was uploaded on YouTube (another wise move) and received more than one million views before it was pulled down. But as all businesses should understand, you can try to remove the negative traces but it can still be found somewhere else in the social media space.This scandal resulted in a multi-million dollar loss and caused great damage to Domino’s 50 year old brand reputation. Domino’s was fast in responding to this scandal. It immediately created its very own Twitter account to promote positive coverage and address customers’ concerns. A YouTube video apology, featuring the CEO was also posted in an attempt to repair part of the damage. In the end, the employees faced criminal charges.
  • Social media is a great tool for brands to connect on a personal level with their customers. Unfortunately, it’s also a great tool for malcontents to rally negative sentiment about your brand. Your best line of defense in today’s customer-driven world is to develop a comprehensive social media policy within your company before any potential PR disasters strike — and quickly respond to any flare-ups.To build this, look to those that have been through the fireBest Buy receives a lot of negative commentary from tech enthusiasts, but the brand has been able to stay engaged with both their fans and detractors. The company has created an instant-response customer service realm with its Facebook page, Twitter account, and other social channels.Virgin America is also doing a great job with proactive social media outreach, relying on a dedicated team of community managers. The brand’s proactive approach centers on responding immediately to customer ire over anything from flight delays to website downtime (which happens a lot thanks to their ever-popular Twitter deals). Through its various social channels, Virgin America keeps users informed and content.Ford is also a social media leader when it comes to keeping customers happy. Scott Monty, Ford’s social media specialist, gets a lot of attention for his efforts on Twitter. His actions on blogs and forums helped avert a potential PR disaster a while ago. As lawyers for Ford sent cease-and-desist orders to forum users who had used and altered the Ford logo (much in the same way as the Nestle debacle), Monty responded quickly to angry users, many of whom were absolute fans of the brand and were showing their loyalty by including the logos in their forum avatars.
  • Media Relations Or Media Disasters

    1. 1. MEDIA RELATIONS OR What to do with negative MEDIA DISASTERS comments
    2. 2. WHO AM I Brian Huonker Illinois State University, University Marketing @IllinoisStateU and @bkhuonker and
    3. 3. WORKING FOR ILLINOIS STATE “You suck”  “Looking for a roommate “ISU Sucks” who smokes dope” “ISU stands for “I screw  “DAMMIT” up”” “Party at 2101 Willow  “Why are blacks the only Street. FREE BEER AND HOT ones with their own CHICKS” months?” "if you cant go to school go  “Fuck you, Illinois State” to State” “The person who runs this  “That chick deserved it” page needs to go back to  “Bradley trumps your ass” school” “REALLY THINKS ISU SUCKS  “Bite ME” RIGHT NOW”
    4. 4. KIDS ARE CREATIVE Web Rage
    5. 5. BUT IS IT REALLY BAD? In the fall of 2009 a student posted on twitter “ISU SUCKS!!!! They pulled my map grant and I can’t go to school in the spring without it” Not true.  Blagovich decided not to fund the map grant, not Illinois State  There was debate going on in Springfield to reinstate it  Illinois State had a contingency plan to fun the Map scholarships if the state did not come through Student Government was organizing a petition and a protest in Springfield Double check with the VP of Student Af fairs and posted “@mmichelle Check out the They are organizing support for the Map Grant in Springfield.
    6. 6. BUT WHAT DO I DO IF … Question number 1
    8. 8. 9 TIPS TO SURVIVE Just 9?
    9. 9. 1. ALWAYS LISTEN
    10. 10. 1. ALWAYS LISTEN Don’t play the “name game” Acknowledge the mistake. Humor helps, but sometimes you need to be solemn and respectful. Apologize. Actually apologize. There’s something magical about the phrase “I’m sorry” that gets us out of the dog - house, out of couch -sleeping duty, and back into the hearts of our loved ones and customers. Act. This one is the most important: Get to the root of what caused the problem and take action. Do you have the wrong person manning your account? Do you have lack of clarity in your guidelines? Figure out what structural failure caused the problem and fix it. And let the world know that you did .
    11. 11. 1.ALWAYSLISTENGreenpeacet a ke s o n N e s t l e
    12. 12. 1.ALWAYSLISTENGreenpeacet a ke s o n N e s t l e
    13. 13. 1.ALWAYSLISTENGreenpeacet a ke s o n N e s t l e
    14. 14. 1.ALWAYSLISTENGreenpeacet a ke s o n N e s t l e
    15. 15. 1.ALWAYSLISTENGreenpeacet a ke s o n N e s t l e
    16. 16. 1.ALWAYSLISTENGreenpeacet a ke s o n N e s t l e
    17. 17. 1.ALWAYSLISTENGreenpeacet a ke s o n N e s t l e
    18. 18. 1.ALWAYSLISTENGreenpeacet a ke s o n N e s t l e
    19. 19. 1.ALWAYSLISTENI l l i n o is S t a teand a fire atDelta SigmaPhi
    20. 20. 1.ALWAYSLISTENI l l i n o is S t a teand a fire atDelta SigmaPhi
    22. 22. 2. SEPARATE YOUR PERSONAS Create safeguards Be selective on your account admins Always monitor Don’t make it to easy Mistakes happen
    23. 23. 2.SEPARATEYOURPERSONASRo u g e p o s t toyo u r s o c i a lmedia page
    24. 24. 2.SEPARATEYOURPERSONASThe response
    25. 25. 2.SEPARATEYOURPERSONASThe reality
    26. 26. 2.SEPARATEYOURPERSONASRe d c ro s s
    27. 27. 2.SEPARATEYOURPERSONASRe d C r o s sresponsed
    28. 28. 2.SEPARATEYOURPERSONAST h e c o m m un i t y
    29. 29. 2.SEPARATEYOURPERSONASAnd thec o m p a ny
    30. 30. 3. BUILD YOUR NET WORK
    31. 31. 3. BUILD YOUR NET WORK the best way to say something on the social web is to, “have someone else say it.”  A network of loyal friends will come to your defense  Provide 3 rd party testimonials But Don’t let them be the only voice Monitor their posts in order to prevent fueling the fire
    32. 32. 3.BUILDYOURNET WORKI l l i n o is S t a tep r o m ote s aB l a c k H i s to r yM o n t h ev e n t
    33. 33. 3.BUILDYOURNET WORKI l l i n o is S t a te ’ sW i n te r“ B r a ke s ”
    35. 35. 4. CONTINUOUS POSITIVE POSTINGS Why? Good things are hard to ignore. Keeps movement on your page Pushes negative comments down on your wall
    36. 36. 4.CONTINUOUSPOSITIVEPOSTINGSI l l i n o is S t a tea n d Fo o l s Fe s t
    38. 38. 5. RESPOND QUICKLY, PERSONALLY AND DIRECTLY. Acknowledge questions and negative comments Place the of ficial response on your website (blog) Go back and personally direct individuals to the response But don’t say it if:  you wouldn’t say it when answering a phone call at work,  you wouldn’t say it in a meeting,  you wouldn’t say it in a job interview,  You wouldn’t say it to your mother. But get your facts straight. Even if it take time. Think twice before you act.
    42. 42. 5.RESPONDQUICKLY,PERSONALLY ANDDIRECTLY.I l l i n o is S t a teand issues withC a m p usHousing
    44. 44. 6. PLAN FOR THE WORST – EXPECT THE BEST. Think through potential situations Craft your first line responses a head of time As situations arise, record the comments and responses for future issues
    45. 45. 6.PLAN FORTHE WORST– EXPECTTHE BEST.Ta c o B e l lreceivesinstantYo u Tub esuccess
    47. 47. 7. CREATE SOCIAL MEDIA PLAN Decide what language is tolerated  Foul language  abusive language  threats against individuals  hateful speech Decide what conversation is acceptable  Comments about products/services  Comments about competition  Comments about customer service Adjust for each social media outlet (Facebook, Twitter, etc…) Distribute it to everyone in the chain of command Apply standards equally.
    49. 49. 7.CREATESOCIALMEDIAPLANI l l i n o is S t a teUniversityc l o s e s d u e tow e a t h e r, t h e nreopens
    50. 50. 7.CREATESOCIALMEDIAPLANI l l i n o is S t a teUniversityc l o s e s d u e tow e a t h e r, t h e nreopens
    52. 52. 8. HAVE AN ESCALATION PLAN Decide which type of comments require immediate response  huge flame against your brand  a customer service rant  a nasty rumor Which comments are best left alone for the community to respond to  a few negative product reviews  a customer comparing your brand unfavorably to another Decide who will respond Know where to get the answers (find the experts) Role Play
    53. 53. 8.HAVE ANESCALATION PLANDominoese m p l oye e sfilming dirtydeads
    55. 55. 9. LASTLY, LET THEM KNOW THE RULES Place your social media policy on your website, Facebook, Twitter, everywhere Periodically post this through the various networks If you delete a comment, let them know why
    56. 56. 9.LASTLY, LET THEMKNOW THERULESB r i s to lC o m m un i t yCollege’sFa c e b o o k P l i c y
    57. 57. CONCLUSION
    58. 58. CONCLUSION Social media is perfect way to connect personally your customers with your brand But it’s a great way for customers to vent about your brand when problems arise Best defense:  Stay cool  Think logically  Don’t take it too seriously  Plan, Plan, Plan And finally, look to the experts  Best Buy  Virgin America  Ford Motors
    59. 59. THREE WORDS TO TAKE-AWAY Sincerity Transparency Consistency