Trying Not To Suck It Up (Social Media Faux Pas) – Pt. 1


There won’t be a lot of times we focus completely on social media on this blog.

There’s a misconception regarding Social CRM that it all has to do with action taken on social networks and that’s completely untrue. So much more goes into the process of connecting socially with customers besides Facebook, Twitter and Google+. but it’s important that we address this outlet at times when exploring this topic.

This is one of those times because we are going to be looking at social media faux pas.

Can’t Spell “Mistake” Without An “I” and “M-E”

One of the benefits of communicating on social platforms is that mistakes can be made and corrected quickly. One of the downsides of communicating on social platforms is that mistakes can quickly be made when you’re least prepared for them.

There are six main social media faux pas types that you need to prepare your CRM team and customer service team for. Here’s the entire list:

  • Generated By An Individual Employee
  • Customer Service #Fail
  • Opponent Campaign
  • Social Faux Pas
  • Organizational Party Foul
  • Internal Meltdown

We’ll be discussing three of those mistakes today and looking at how to prepare for them and then touch on the remaining three on Thursday.

1. Individual F-Up

Every now and then, an individual working within your company (or for your company) with say or do something stupid online. Remember this?


Not only was New Media Streams (NMS) fired from the Chrysler account, the individual within NMS was let go. Talk about a rippling effect.

It’s unfortunate that Twitter and other networks can have such a huge impact on public perception and wielding that power can lead to these type of mess ups, but it’s true. Having said that, it’s important to remember that the Internet didn’t create morons or people having brain farts, it just gave them more of an audience.

There’s no way to completely protect yourself or your company from the silly personal mistakes that are going to happen. Even the strictest social media policy can’t account for human error.

The above Tweet was, of course, a complete accident but that didn’t stop the public outcry or disciplinary actions. However, there are things you can do to possibly deflate the situation before it floats into the echelon of a brand disaster.

  1. Acknowledge the Situation Quickly and Candidly – As previously mentioned, these sorts of things can happen in the blink of an eye, but that’s also how fast you can respond. Be honest and quick about what happend how how you plan to approach it.
  2. Show Yourself Learning From The Experience – Sometimes someone has to lose their job and agencies must be let go. Other times it’s not that drastic and you can show your brand learning from the experience.

One thing that social media has taught us is that brands that are willing to own up to mistakes and learn from them have already won half the battle in gaining back some positive public opinion.

2. Customer Service #Fail

You can’t please all of the people all of the time. This is extra true when it comes to customer service. However much you want to believe that your company is different, at some point you will let a customer down.

This is the nature of business, but the social web has added a wrinkle to this truth that as a brand you must keep an eye on. We’ve all seen blogs talking about some terrible experience the blogger had with _________ Company that got shared all over the Internet, kind of like this guy:

YouTube Preview Image

You have to be ready for things like this and here are a few steps to help you get prepared:

  1. Train Your Customer Service Team on the Ins and Outs of Social Media – This should have been taken care of in your internal rollout, but it’s very important your team be educated on how quickly something like this can turn into a disaster online. On the other side of the coin, the better educated your team is on social media tools, the better equipped they are to provide customer service using them.
  2. Timing is Everything – This should be self-explanatory, but acting quickly is key in diffusing online customer service complaints. Using the tools set up to listen in the sCRM, react quickly to those things that show up and need to be addressed.
  3. “It’s Not What You Said…” – I get this from my wife quite a bit, but it’s true in customer service as well. Half the time, if you don’t come across sincere in your response, you will escalate the situation higher than it would have gone on it’s own. Own up to your mistake and be sincere in your responses to those that felt wronged.

3. Vicious Campaigns

Sometimes who you are or what you stand for will be attacked by a group that has a moral differing of opinion. Once, when I was working with an amusement park in New England, they had a special event where the actor monkey from the Night at the Museum movies was going to be making a personal appearance. Many people were extreme;y excited about.

PETA was not.

They attempted to hi-jack the Facebook page of the park with animal cruelty videos and terrible quotes, demands and threats. It was an awful time for a client that wanted nothing more than to provide a wonderful experience for their guests. (The monkey was treated better than most celebrities, BTW, and the claims being made on the Facebook wall were completely inaccurate).

So, what do you do if some group tries to run a smear campaign on your platform or blog?

  1. Don’t Censor Your Opposition – This is a tough one for most companies. Unless the posts are vulgar or offensive, leave them up. Not only are you proving to be the bigger company, but when you delete negative comments you inadvertently give them credence and validity in public opinion.
  2. Assess The Opposition – Are they wrong or just stating a difference of opinion? You have tom understand what your opposition is saying before you can correctly know how to respond. Which leads us to…
  3. Respond to the Opposition (Politely) – You always want to keep control of your pages (even shutting off comments, if necessary), but part of that is respectfully responding to the opposition’s points. If they are factually inaccurate, politely correct their facts and explain your position. If they are just stating an opposing position, address each of their concerns with understanding and a clear explanation of your side of things. Further the conversation when necessary.

Okay, that’s enough for today. We’ve covered a lot, but be sure to check back on Thursday when we finish off talking about the rest of the social faux pas and how to protect your company from them.

Thoughts on these issues so far?

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9 Responses to Trying Not To Suck It Up (Social Media Faux Pas) – Pt. 1
  1. [...] Trying Not To Suck It Up (Social Media Faux Pas) – Pt. 1 « The Most Difficult Thing About Social CRM [...]

  2. [...] Trying Not To Suck It Up (Social Media Faux Pas) – Pt. 1 [...]

  3. [...] Trying Not To Suck It Up (Social Media Faux Pas) – Pt. 1 [...]

  4. Excellent round-up of ideas, Joey. We all need to be prepared.

  5. mcahalane

    Good examples! RT @DannyBrown Trying Not To Suck It Up (Social Media Faux Pas) – Pt. 1 via @JugnooMe

  6. [...] Monday we talked about the first of 6 major social media faux pas and how to avoid/rectify them if you or your brand happens to come across them. The ones we covered [...]

  7. [...] we’ve been talking about things like internal rollouts, understanding the social customer, social media understandings, who owns sCRM, etc., and we’ll be delving into these more thoroughly as we progress [...]

  8. [...] more so) as externally. This one can be confusing when it comes to Social CRM because a lot of the overt actions we’ve discussed take place out and about with customers, but the true benefit of the Social CRM system is the [...]

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