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How to Respond to Bad Behaviour on Social Sites

Social media marketing is a very popular online marketing tool at the moment, since Facebook and Twitter burst onto the scenes marketers have been trying to work it into their communications.

To start with it was very much a case of ‘just do social media’, with not a huge amount of planning, strategy or measurement going on. As is always the case with the latest marketing technique, it can be a dangerous road to go down if you’ve not prepared yourself properly.

There have been some very high profile cases of big brands getting it very wrong on social media…

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A Ryanair employee engaged in some awful  comments on a blog that someone had written about how to book a flight with them and not pay for it. Instead of professionally pointing out the error in his ways, the Ryanair representative branded him an idiot and a liar. What made it worse was that when a more senior Ryanair representative confirmed what had happened he released a statement that referred to lunatic bloggers. Not the best PR the brand had ever received.

Dominos Pizza had problems when one of their employees put videos on Youtube showing the mischief he got up to when making pizzas. One video showed him putting food up his nose and then onto a pizza. Yes employees really do things like that on social sites. Thankfully Dominoes responded much better and the CEO released an apologetic video saying it was an isolated incident and the brand have been using Twitter to thank those who write positive comments about them.

It’s a tough line when a company needs to issued guidelines to their staff about the correct way to behave on social sites but if done properly it can save some egg in the face of both.

  • Make sure that it’s clear the guidelines are to protect the employee aswell as the company
  • Rules should apply to those who are in any way linked to the brand, whether that’s through profile or what they disclose in social conversations
  • If you want to keep it simple then ask that employees don’t post negative or unsavoury comments against the company, their prospects, competitors or clients
  • Show examples of where it’s gone horribly wrong for a bad posting employee
  • Show examples of good posting and who does it well
  • Remind employees that there is no way to delete bad posting from their account, once it’s out there, the world will see it

Of course you can always turn a negative social experience on its head – people are looking to the brand and their response in these situations. Don’t stick your head in the sand, don’t say anything inflammatory regardless of what you think and don’t just try to delete it and hope it goes away. Someone somewhere saw it and can spread it again like wildfire.

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