How to Handle a Social Media Crisis the Right Way

“Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.”

Mike Tyson famously said those words as he was talking to reporters about his fighting strategy before one of his fights. This quote should not resemble your marketing plan. At some point your company will get “punched in the mouth” and your company’s marketing plan will be defined by how they handle it. Having a basic plan of action and constantly reinforcing it with your staff will help you manage a crisis smoothly.

Veet, a company that specializes in hair removal products for women, recently had a crisis and handled it rather poorly. On April 7, Veet posted on Facebook that their new commercial was going to air during “Dancing with the Stars” that night. They posted a link to it for their fans to see it early.

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Unfortunately, people found the ad offensive and sexist, and they said as much on Veet’s Facebook page. What was Veet’s quick response? Nothing but a scheduled post the next day showing the offensive commercial again. Meanwhile, some of the offended people’s comments were getting several hundred likes from other offended people. After two days of silence, Veet finally posted a response saying they never meant to offend people. They promised to take down the ads on their social media sites, although they forgot one video which is still on their Facebook page. When you read the response, you can almost hear the annoyance and lack of compassion from their marketing team.  Veet

One way to prevent a crisis from getting out of a hand is by listening to the conversations about your brand. The last thing you want is to leave complaints unattended for any length of time.

Usually in a crisis, people will all be complaining about the same thing. The first thing your team should do is create a pre-planned response that will be used as a launching point for your social media managers to use. Address the issue first on the site where the complaints started. If people are commenting on your Facebook page, then draft an apology there before moving on to other social media sites.

In most cases, there are multiple employees who have access to all your social media accounts so make sure everyone is crystal clear about their role. An inconsistent message will only worsen the situation. Do not copy and paste the same response to every complaint; this is as bad as deleting the negative comments.

Double check that all scheduled posts are turned off on all of your social media sites. Promoting your brand instead of addressing the problem will look like you are not taking this issue seriously.

The most important thing to remember is to be as transparent as possible during a crisis. You will not be able to please everyone and that’s simply a fact. You’re human and humans make mistakes. If you are genuine with your apologies and follow through with your promises, people will forgive your brand much faster.

Every crisis is a learning experience. You should look back and see what worked. Afterwards, head back to the drawing board to reevaluate your crisis strategy.

Have you witnessed a brand handling a crisis? How did they do? Let me know in the comments below or connect with me on Twitter.

7 Things You Need to Stop Doing on Social Media Sites

According to the latest data from BI Insider, the average American spends a little over half an hour per day just on social media sites. That’s a bigger amount of time than any other internet activity—including email. This is doubly impressive considering that is roughly a tenth of the time spent in front of the television, according to Nielson.

While social networks are slowly gaining more eyeball time with the average American, it’s becoming harder to keep attention on your brand. There are a variety of social media sites, and that number is growing every day. You can’t afford to run someone off of your brand. I’ve already talked about etiquette in a previous blog but this is about social media strategy. If you want to keep people in your sales funnel, avoid these seven social media sins!

Pinterest

This is perhaps the most focused and tight-knit of the major social media sites, in my opinion. Unlike Facebook or Twitter, where anyone can pretty much talk about anything, Pinterest is more focused on the appreciation of visual content—usually in the form of crafting and homemade items. It’s important to have an amazing piece of visual content on Pinterest, but make sure you don’t forget to link to what you’re pinning. There is nothing more annoying than finding the coolest Star Wars ornament pinned somewhere with no way of getting any details about it.

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LinkedIn

The most popular social networking site for professionals, LinkedIn has grown from a place to post your resume to a full-blown social network! While it’s great to like things and post content on LinkedIn, please keep in mind that you’re not on Facebook. Don’t get too casual! There is nothing worse than discovering a potential graphic designer for your company, and seeing SpongeBob Squarepants picture with the tag Who’s here to party?

Google+

It’s no secret that Google+ is a bit of a mystery when it comes to social media strategy. Some use it for SEO, while others enjoy the combination of visual content and longer written pieces on the social network. Not matter how you use Google+, please don’t over share. It’s just too easy to quickly share really good, visual content on the site, and many marketers can’t seem to help themselves. Use Google+ to promote the message of your brand and avoid the cat pictures.

Tumblr

Some would scoff at using Tumblr in their social media strategy, but there are some great opportunities on this visually centered social network. Teenagers and younger adults seem to enjoy the direct, earnest nature of Tumblr. The key is to avoid shotgun design. In other words, don’t just throw content up on your Tumblr. The best contributors have an obvious visual theme and they stick to it. 

Hashtags, Hashtags and More Hashtags

The hashtag is so addictive and now you can find it on multiple social media sites. It’s been mentioned before but it’s worth noting that you need to stop using any hashtags on Facebook. Not only is it doing nothing to draw attention to your brand, it might even be hurting it. Even if it isn’t affecting your social reach, hashtags on Facebook look misplaced and amateur.

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On Twitter, it’s important to understand how to use hashtags properly. A hashtag on Twitter is like a place marker for content. It makes it easier for followers and potential customers to find you. Most brands can be summed up in a word or two, so don’t use too many hashtags. Over using hashtags (#like #putting #one #after #every #word) makes it harder for people to find you. It also looks terribly like spam. Furthermore, hashtags aren’t part of your sentence. They’re extra bits of information to help get your brand noticed. They don’t need to be separated by commas or anything else.

Have any other things turned you off from a brand? What’s been bugging you on social media sites lately? Please comment below!

Build Your Next Campaign Using The Social Technographics Ladder

In 2012, Social Media Today posted a survey indicating that 90% of small business owners out of a sample of 600 were using social networking sites. Fast forward to 2014 and you’ll come across an abundance of success stories about businesses executing social media in-house or hiring online strategy firms to create and foster relationships with consumers.

Current and prospective consumers are online and they are saturated with information. According to a report released by Nielsen on Monday, Americans are spending about 60 hours a week viewing content across various platforms. The secret to resonating in consumers’ minds during their hours of online searching is understanding their behaviors while they are online.

Authors Josh Bernoff and Ted Schadler go into detail about online participation of consumers in their co-authored book, Empowered. One chapter of their book highlights Forrester’s research about overlapping levels of social technology participation of consumers, also known as The Social Technographics Ladder.

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Look through the descriptions of each level of the ladder and select one category that fits you best. You obviously are a ‘spectator’ at this moment for reading this blog, but are you more of a ‘conversationalist’ that posts daily updates? Now let’s use this ladder and make it work for you as ROI for your business. Segment a group of individuals from your target demographic and assign them to each level of the ladder. Consumer A is participating in a contest on your Facebook page to upload a picture and could be coined as a “creator.” Consumer B is subscribed to your monthly podcast but after further research, doesn’t tweet or post much online. They would most likely be categorized as a “spectator.”

By analyzing your consumers online using The Social Technographics Ladder, you’ll have the opportunity to formulate more effective social media campaigns to see increased web traffic, engagement or any other goals you have.

Want a quick snapshot on the social technographics profile of your consumers? Select the following drop down options that are appropriate for your business. You’ll be surprised to learn about how your consumers are interacting online and how you can tweak your strategies to better suit their online behavior.

 

Looking for creative ways to engage consumers from one of the levels of the Social Technographics Ladder or learn about successful social media campaigns created by StrataBlue? Comment below or chat with me on Twitter @whatupTUT.

Paid Promotion & Social Media Strategy

If you know a musician, say the phrase “pay to play” to them. I guarantee they will groan, complain or roll their eyes. Pay to play means that an artist is paying the club or venue to perform, and the performer will (hopefully) earn their money back if enough fans come to see them. Of course, if no one shows up…

Last week, Instagram dropped the news that users will be seeing “an occasional ad” in their feeds. Their CEO has promised that these videos will be tasteful and light, and that they’ll only be coming from brands that have a lasting relationship with Instagram. It has been pointed out that Instagram’s video capabilities will offer advertisers commercials on 150 million screens—whether those viewers want them or not.

In a similar blog statement, Foursquare has opened up a self-service advertising platform for smaller businesses. This just seems to be the newest platform for Foursquare to try to jump into the pay to play market. Foursquare’s pitch is that small business owners will be able to tell if a customer “actually walks into their store” with simple analytics. I’m not sure how simple this approach will be, though.

Is the world of social media going to a paid promotion format? It’s no secret that promoting Facebook ads with cash helps. It gets your brand in front of more people, and even targets different demographics. It works. So, logically promoting your business with Foursquare or even Instagram (eventually) will help as well, right?

Paid Promotion is a tool. It’s just like scheduled Facebook posts and Google Analytics. Clients will come to you, frantically waving their smartphones and asking why you aren’t promoting their Foursquare presence. Keep it cool; you really need to do your homework before jumping right into pay to play. Ask yourself some questions.

  • What do I know about this? Have you researched paid promotion in the past? Have you dug into how it will help that particular brand? If not, you shouldn’t start spending money yet.
  • What am I trying to achieve with this? Paid promotions are great for getting your name in front of a lot of people. However, it won’t help you engage with your current fan-base. If you’re trying to get more engagement, consider another option.
  • How much should I pay for this? Facebook allows you to boost your posts at a variety of levels with different dollar commitments. These different levels are very important based on your fan following and size.

Make sure you also know if your client is even ready for paid ads. Are they, quite frankly, punching at that level? Theoretically, a boosted Facebook post or two could help a business at the beginning of their social media life. But once the initial flash is over, it’s time to get down to the real work of engaging with your new found followers. That means interesting, appropriate content aimed at the right people. Content marketing is heavily discussed and analyzed for a reason.

So what does this all mean?

Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom wants to see his app “on every platform, on every kind of phone and tablet and wearable…” I don’t know if all the marketing content on there will be paid for or organically created. In a world where you can see ads through your watch, it will be quite important that those ads are engaging and well-crafted either way.