Clinton Begg

Clinton Begg

Director Of CB5 Social Media Management

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Digital PR Disaster

Have you ever seen something on social media and thought; Geez that could turn into a disaster? Even worse, what if you see this something on a business’ Facebook page?

Here’s a pretty good example:
A retailer undertook an extensive digital media advertising campaign with a strategy to lure customers to the store. They were promoting a very popular piece of furniture at a heavily discounted price. So, what was the problem you may ask?

Come sale day, the store only had 20 units of stock with a crowd of hundreds lining up to take home this attractive bargain. Considering the advertising and price point, it would be obvious to most that the lack of stock was going to be problematic!

After venting their anger with the store staff, customers returned home dismayed and disappointed where they predictably reignited their frustrations on social media.

Instead of effectively combating the negativity on Facebook, the business ignored the customers messages, deciding not to engage. This is a mistake.

Many businesses tend to treat their social media platforms similar to a personal page and underestimate the opportunities and potential risks a social media platform can bring to their business. When you are faced with a public relations disaster on social media, it is paramount that you do not ignore it and simply hope it will all go away. The best strategy is exactly that – have a strategy! Be ready to roll with a plan that communicates clearly and respectfully while acknowledging the problem and pledging to seek a suitable resolution.

It is part of living in the digital age, that you will be contacted through social media for both good and bad. You can just about guarantee that if you do not suitably seek solution with an aggrieved customer in store, that they will take to social media with negative reviews and vitriolic messages if they’re upset enough. Many consumer groups even recommend that customers take to social media if they are not getting a satisfactory outcome by other means!

Social media is a public stage where people can take their hand-held megaphones and do a lot of damage to a business or brand. How you react on this public stage is of paramount importance. Respond to each message in a way that acknowledges the error or unhappiness that has occurred, and that you understand what the customer is feeling. You may not always be able to fully resolve the issue, and sometimes the customer might not even reply, but you need to be seen to be doing the right thing. Don’t forget that the transcript of messages stays on the platform for others to read later long after the fact. Customers accept that things go wrong sometimes, and they are usually understanding and more confident about a business that actively acknowledges and resolves problems instead of one that ignores people.

Social media need not be difficult. Quite simply, people like to be acknowledged and customer service shouldn’t finish at the shop door – treat social media interactions exactly how you would treat someone in your showroom or calling you on the phone!