Posted on April 22, 2010. Filed under: Best practices, Social Media | Tags: bad form, bad manners, bad moderation, bad PR, customer service, Facebook, Nestle facebook, nestle facebook fisaco, poor interaction with the public, PR fiasco, Social Media, social media disengagement, Social Networks |
The two-way street of social media offers a more personable way to engage with audiences than traditional marketing avenues.
People can leave comments on your blog, Facebook fan page or Twitter account and you can respond in kind.
It’s a great way to build brand affinity. Consumers have a voice in your online space. This sends a message their opinion matters. You gain valuable feedback, too.
However, beware — the street can be pocked with potholes.
Watch for road hazards on the two-way street of social media
The genesis of this fiasco began when the environmental awareness group Greenpeace called Nestle out for obtaining palm oil from “companies that are trashing Indonesian rainforests, threatening the livelihoods of local people and pushing orangutans towards extinction.” Greenpeace created a video and website campaign to denounce Nestle. The campaign featured a disparaging version of the logo for Nestle’s Kit Kat candy bar with the word “Killer” on it.
The Killer logo and others equally offensive to the company started circulating in cyberspace, prompting Nestle to post not once, but twice, a statement on its Facebook page that they were not going to stand for anyone messing with their stuff.
How NOT to moderate a Facebook page
Nestle soon found itself in one fine mess. Facebook fans took Nestle to task, telling the company they were free to do as they pleased. Here’s the start of the thread to the post:
That’s not even the half of it. Comments came pouring in, fast and furious, a few in favor of Nestle’s stance, but the vast majority taking up verbal arms against the arrogance of the Nestle spokesperson who basically flipped the bird to Facebook fans.
I suspect it goes without saying this is not a good thing to do on a platform that is open to the entire world. Indeed, the spat got picked up by media outlets across the globe.
You can’t control what others say about your brand (and this is not new)
Clearly Nestle missed the memo about how you can’t control what people say about you, and, if you need to respond to negative comments, it’s best to do so in a way that does not alienate or otherwise insult people.
Now lest you think this phenomenon of consumers being able to mess with your brand arose from the openness of social media, rest assured, word of mouth, good or bad, has been around as long as we humans have been talking to one another. There’s also a long history for alteration of corporate logos — MAD magazine loves to do this sort of thing, and you’ve likely seen t-shirts with spoof versions of popular logos, too.
Social media just makes the whole thing a lot more public and a lot more viral.
What can you learn from this?
This is one for the books: Count on the incident being used in case studies about how not to engage in social media. You’d be hard-pressed to find a better example of how to do it wrong.
Meanwhile, there are lessons to be learned here. Such as:
Make sure you understand the ways of social media before you engage in this space. There are lots of do’s and don’ts and if you need some learnin’ here I suggest reading either The New Community Rules, by Tamar Weinberg, or Six Pixels of Separation, by Mitch Joel.
Make sure the person you assign to handle social media tasks knows how to properly interact with the public. Good manners and knowledge of how to appropriately respond to comments of all kinds is imperative.
Be prepared for negative feedback. No matter how wonderful you are, someone somewhere can have a bone to pick. Realize it may wind up in your social space.
If a crises does arise, be quick to put out the fire. Admit your mea culpa.
Don’t let one bad experience sour you on social media. See what you can learn and do it better the next time.
- Deni Kasrel
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