What to do when social mediaattacks your brand www.adeolakayode.com firstname.lastname@example.org
One of a company’s most valuableassets is its brand equity – thatemotional connection that peoplehave with an organization’sproduct/service that makes youwant to continually respond toovertures from them...
While some businesses are notoblivious of the obvious influencevaried social media platforms arehaving on the growth or decline of theirbrands, it not unusual to see blogs,topics of forums, social networkingsites and other forms of social mediafiring an attack on abrand/product/service.
However, with the rapid influenceof internet communities and theexplosion of social media inparticular, more challenges arebeing thrown at reputationmanagers and businesses alike
Consider the case ofBritish Petroleum (B.P.)It took me a long time to getthe British Petroleum logo –but thanks to Wikipedia
What happened?BP, British Petroleum is one of themajor oil companies in the worldand are presently known only fortheir Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
Greenpeace orchestrated anonline attack when in frustration, itchallenged the public (alongsidewww.logomyway.com) to design anew BP logo to suit their “dirtybusiness.” The competitiongarnered over 2,000 entries withdamaging designs – the effectscan never be wipedoff the web.
While that may be extreme, thesimple case of mis-managingyour Facebook page aftercreation can also aggregatebrand haters to your brand.Most big brands have followed thefad of social media withoutcovering their backs orconsidering the pitfalls of joiningthe online brand conversation.
Consider the case of Nestle whenpeople began to complain on itsFacebook page that the companyneeded to stop the use of non-renewable palm oil in their production.The problem started when themoderator became simply intolerantof inciting comments.
While it was within the purview ofthe Nestlé moderator to monitor andmoderate comments, it should havebeen in the back of the moderator’smind to remember he represents thebrand image of the company and notto begin to insult its customers andfans.But it is really difficult when peoplestarted commenting and postingwith altered version of Nestlés logo
This underscores the point that evenbig corporations, Nestlé in this case,have absolutely no idea what to dowhen a crisis flares up on theirFacebook page or any other socialmedia platform. This isnt about legalrights.Its about strategy, which clearly Nestlédid not have.
Before you jump into socialMediaWhen opening your brand tosocial media, you relinquishownership of the brand, sobefore the case ever comes upyou need to be sure if youragency has a communitymanagement expertise to avertor mitigate a social mediacrisis? Have a set of bestpractices been established?Think again.
Going online has gone farbeyond the era of justdeveloping a beautifulwebsite.
The evolving demand for onlinemedia marketing and social mediaengagement requires clearpolicies, guidelines andexperienced staff that will involveemployees in every aspect of yourbusiness operations – HumanResource, Customer Service,Branding and Marketing.
It also involves profiling yourtarget audience before pouringresources into Facebook.Several PR tools will be useful inthis regard. Don’t be busyspending money on ads if youraudience is busy in traffic orwith their phones.
Dealing with social media attacksalso requires a robust crisis plan.Brand haters exist but unlike thepast, a coordinated attack can easilybe organized against a brand.But with no plan laid out, how couldthe moderator know how to handlesuch a delicate and heatedsituation?
Consider the Boycott British Airwayscampaign organized by the NigerianVillage Square and Respect NigeriaCoalition when officials of the UKPolice forcefully ejected AyodejiOmotade and about 136 otherNigerians from a Lagos bound flightfrom the UK.Thousands of online signatures werecollated which later saw BritishAirways apologizing for itsmisbehavior.
Ok the deed is done and you have acrisis in your hands, what do you do?The next step is not to have a hurriedresponse to your online audience.The next step is to determine the typeof response necessary.
œ Inaccurate accusations about your product and servicesœ Genuine but misplaced concerns Reply with thanks!
œ Some are just plain brand haters, if you reply, you may draw more attention to the commentœ Some are really bitter and have first hand experiences ( address them personal and carry the on resolutions privately) Just ignore and hold your peace
Here are some common suggestionsyou should have at the back of yourmind if you are a moderator of a socialmedia portal ( forum, page, anything)
œ Get personalœ Don’t ever insult your fansœ If you MUST delete posts. You need to be smart and fast about itœ Don’t respond until you have something positive to sayœ There are some comments you just need to overlook
œ If you feel like fighting back, do nothingœ It doesn’t matter the kind of crisis, one rule is critical - stay positive.œ Being bitter and negative about comments is the easiest way to expose your brand to bashingœ When people make useful suggestions, thank them even if you don’t agree
Finally, in going social, alwaysremember a Facebook pageisn’t a Social Media Strategy.