Fact: the average person spends 135 minutes a day on social media. And that’s just an ordinary day. A Monday, say, mid-June, when the sun is out, the mood is carefree, and there’s plenty of things to be getting on with both in and out of the office. A time when the world is otherwise distracted... One hundred and thirty five minutes. Eight thousand, one hundred seconds. Are you picturing it?
OK, now imagine it’s Christmas day. The turkey has been gobbled up, the presents torn open, and everyone is vegged out watching festive flicks they’ve already seen a million times. How much time do you think people will spend on social media on these lazy days, made up almost entirely of things to brag about online (because, basically, most of consumer social media is a big ‘ole #HumbleBrag come December 25th.) OK
…now imagine a number of those social media users are feeling annoyed at your brand (or a brand that you’re responsible for) and decide to fire out an angry message. You’re tagged. People start to respond. The message (a tweet, say) goes viral. And before you know it, Twitter is going crazy about something you’ve allegedly done wrong, customers are getting increasingly irate at a lack of pick up from your end because – shock horror – you’ve given your social media team the holidays off (you monster). And now, The Daily Mail is running a double page spread on your irresponsible approach to online customer service.
You’re at home with your family, you don’t even know this is happening. The empire is crumbling, and all you’re doing is cosily noshing on mince pies and watching Doctor Who. What will the people at the top think of you now? Where can your brand (or your client’s brand) go from here? WILL YOU OR YOUR BRAND EVER RECOVER?
… Aaaand breathe. Come back into the room. Have a sip of your tea and try to calm your beating heart as you realise that the harrowing fantasy isn’t reality… yet. But don’t let that make you complacent - if it can happen to other brands, it can happen to yours.
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Not convinced? Read on...
When social media goes wrong: handpicked horror stories
The case of UPS ‘ruining Christmas’ and then ‘rubbing it in’
In 2013, delivery company UPS ran late on a lot of their Christmas orders. And while they didn’t disclose quite how many were late, the cries of ‘you ruined Christmas’ that rang out online were pretty darn loud. To add insult to injury? A scheduled post was then pushed live on Christmas day referring to the service as ‘Santa’s helpers.’ The backlash was… well you can imagine… This was a very blunt reminder of the importance of rethinking your scheduled messaging if you have very recently failed to – mind the pun – deliver. With a risk assessment and community managers in place UPS could have if not avoided the issue (mistakes are made, after all), at least minimised the fallout.
The case of Poundland’s misguided Elf on the Shelf campaign
We’re throwing this one in because it was huge last year, though we’re still not certain if the brand in question predicted the outcry that would come to accompany their controversial images. Regardless, Poundland’s crude take on a children’s toy upset and astounded social media users this time last year, with a lot of negativity directed at the brand. We can’t be certain if there was a workflow set up to deal with negative feedback – it didn’t seem so when the storm first broke – but this year, with the return of the elf, there appears to be a team of community managers on hand to respond to comments. Only time will tell if their crisis management team is fully briefed and ready to go. Judging by last year’s reaction, they certainly need to be
And the case of Dove’s ‘racist’ Facebook post
Not a Christmas campaign, but an important one. In late 2017, popular personal care brand Dove made a ‘ouch, that’s gotta hurt’ faux pas with their social media marketing. Cutting down an extended advert that showed women of all colour removing t-shirts to reveal women of another colour underneath – as a part of a campaign aimed to highlight beauty in all women, regardless of age, colour, shape. Dove shared a 2 second clip on Facebook that showed a black woman removing a t-shirt to reveal a white woman underneath. As this was an advert for body wash, the implication attached to such a clip was clear to everyone except, apparently, the social media team that pushed it live. And with said implication being a racist one, the internet went wild.
Dove issued an apology, and the advert was removed – but the damage was done. The message had gone viral, and Dove had changed in the eyes of previously loyal followers. In the marketing sphere, we were all left asking - as we’re certain their internal team was - where the social media experts were, and why hadn’t they conducted a risk assessment in advance? Where were their community managers, who should have spotted issues first, and gone into escalation/crisis mode? Why had this been allowed to happen at all?
… You get the point.
Still pondering? Read on...
Key considerations for managing your social media at Christmas
Active social media accounts are part and parcel of running a business in 2018 but, as outlined above, this customer centric element of your marketing mix is not without peril. You think a bit of arm-twisting to get a couple of your staff to ‘pop online’ from time to time to keep an eye on things will do the job. And, hey, so what if that cover has had a few bevvies or is having a nap. Ahem… so, although online crisis can happen all year around, Christmas is a particularly tricky time. Why? Allow us to explain...
1. Your usual team is at its busiest, people are on holiday, and then, on the crucial day, chances are your regular account manager is not online. For you, this could spell disaster. Without monitoring, a single irate query can spiral into a viral hate campaign if sent out by the right person – especially since 47% of customers want fast replies to their messages. Nothing fuels the online fire more than being ignored (studies even show that 66% of consumers will rethink their loyalty to your brand if they experience bad customer service).
2. Fake news can kill your brand if not nipped in the bud. Without a community manager on hand to dispel rumours ASAP, fake news about one of your products or your brand can become ingrained in the public consciousness before you even know there’s a problem, with negative feedback seriously impairing your chances of making a killing in the boxing day sales (80% of shoppers do their research online before buying – do you want that research to turn up bad reviews?).
3. Bad reviews result in loss of sales. As above, but with reviews rather than fake news. We really can’t stress enough – your community needs to be managed! Without monitoring, you can’t be sure how you’re performing. Good or bad, you need to know what is being said about you. And not just tagged mentions – do you know what’s being said without inclusion of your profile? We can guarantee your customers do.
4. Handing your accounts to a junior team member, without proper training, could do more harm than good. We know it’s tempting, and you wouldn’t be the first to do it… Or the first to regret doing it, either. We can’t stress how important it is to have the right triage process in place – often brands will categorise positive and negative sentiment and forward on negative sentiment to customer care teams. However, the types of comments could include complaints, queries about products or frequently asked questions. Each category requires a different response and potentially a different skillset, therefore understanding the correct triage and reputation management process is key.
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So what’s the good news?
There is a silver lining to all of this, and that is that we’re here to help. Our team of highly experienced social media experts and reputation managers are on standby to give their full attention to your brand, interacting with your clientele and troubleshooting any looming dangers before they have the opportunity to ruin your chances in 2019. Have a think, read through our service offering, and get in touch. Oh, and obviously we can work direct with brands too.
We’ll be online and holding the fort quicker than you can say ho ho ho…w many notifications???