As a proponent of social media, we know how important it is to be transparent and to treat everybody with utmost respect. One golden rule that I uphold is, “whether a person is online or face-to-face, treat them the same”.
However, we oftentimes witness brands / companies disrespect people online, just because they leave negative comments. It is seemingly too easy to merely hit the delete link and remove the pain. Now that would be the quickest are surest way to stir up a hornets nest! Just today, I witnessed what happened during an event by Energizer that was taken online and not managed well.
A seemingly pleasant and interesting night race was organized, but unfortunately, the event was not well managed for numerous reasons that I will not mention. Hundreds of participants were dissatisfied and immediately flocked to Facebook after the race. I presume many were seeking for answers and wanting to vent their frustration, only to get no respite from the organizers or the company.
Photo from tianchad.com. Used with permission.
It caused a massive stir, and comment upon comment compounded the feelings of hate.
And then… comments on the official Energizer Night Race Facebook page started disappearing. This drove the social media world insane. They proceeded to start up an alternate page that was free from bias – Boycott Energizer Night Race!
Thus began a truly PR nightmare. The comments got more defamatory and innovation was fueled via some posts as shown below.
Posted by: Kukimonstar Superstar
Posted by: Daryl Wong Wei Kong
There are quite a few social media response lessons that can be learnt from this case study, and I feel Energizer would do well to take note of them to avoid future disasters.
1. Organizers and the brand should respond quickly with an official apology and statement. Be honest – do not cover it up with excuses.
2. Put in effort to show you care – a video of the CEO or an important representative addressing the issue would be excellent. Upload it onto the official Facebook page.
3. Time is of the essence. Do not wait till the “next business day” to respond. You need to jump right in and start responding.
4. Make things right. Do something by make promises and make sure it happens – quickly.
5. Never, never, EVER delete comments that are left by participants. If you do not engage and answer, they will double their anger and aim it right back at you. Deleting comments is probably the one thing that adds the salt to open wounds, as seen below.
Ultimately, the people in the social media space just want to be heard. They want to feel that their opinions count. Show that you listen and care, then watch and see how things can quickly change. Implement and work on the criticism hurled at you – it’s ultimately for your benefit. Thankfully, the social media space has a relatively short-term memory and people move on quickly to the next big thing.
Two other interesting blog posts on the race are found here: