With the availability of multiple online review sites, instantaneous social media posting, and photos and videos going viral every day, a small matter can turn into a public relations nightmare in a matter of minutes. Online companies have found that maintaining a positive presence on the Internet is an important opportunity to manage their reputations. But the Internet can be cruel, and its users more so, and that well-intentioned post could become flames for the digital mobs and pitchforks. And we all know that once an online battle words begins, the damage can be irreparable.
When Social Media Promotions Backfire
The best and worst thing about social media is that it's instant. Your customers can instantly tweet how fabulous their meal was. They can share videos of themselves enjoying services and products. They can ask your company questions on Facebook to learn about promotions or ask how to return a broken product. And companies are able to instantly reply, giving the most up-to-date information in a timely manner. Social media has quickly become a way for customers to contact and rate businesses because they aren't kept waiting on hold for 30 minutes or more, and they leave feedback knowing that the world can see it. It gives consumers a way for companies to be held accountable, and it gives companies a way to actively manage their reputations.
But sometimes social media can backfire. Here are a few social media snafus in the past two years:
- In 2012, McDonald's began a promotional hashtag trend (#mcdstories), prompting consumers to share their stories. Instead of good times, users shared their worst experiences with the chain. While the company has overcome bad publicity before, this one cost them.
- Both The Gap and American Apparel made light of Hurricane Sandy by asking those who lived in the affected area if they would be shopping and offered discounts.
- Kmart thought it was a good idea to tweet its respects after the school shooting in Newtown, Conn. Including a hashtag promotion for toys (#Fab15Toys) was not such a great idea.
Each of the companies mentioned are giants in their industries. They are well-known, which means they are under closer scrutiny than most. It also means that each of these companies feels compelled to stay current on trends. McDonald's promotion could have gone a different way easily, but so many of their customers were disgruntled and took advantage of the hashtag. The other snafus can be placed squarely on the shoulders of whoever should have been managing the online reputation for the companies.
Unhappy customers happen – don't fool yourself otherwise. Sometimes a customer's bad day becomes a company's problem. And sometimes an employee's bad day becomes the consumer's problem. The way to avoid unfavorable viral images, videos, and posts, is to stay calm and let Online Potential handle the situation. Our corporate experts can build your reputation, repair it after an attack, and help prevent future attacks.
Once negative reviews are out there, it can be impossible to delete them. We reduce the impact a few bad reviews can have by increasing the number of positive reviews your company receives. And to keep bad reviews from happening, we'll help your company take the necessary steps to monitor your online reputation. Having a positive online reputation is one of the surest ways to help your business grow.