Social Media Blooper + Apology = Unexpected Outcome
According to the Urban Dictionary, slizzardis a slang term for intoxicated or one who has consumed alcohol and is either tipsy or fully intoxicated and showing signs of alcohol abuse and maybe alcohol poisoning.
This story begins with someone at the Red Cross accidentally tweeting about “getting slizzard” …
Step 1) Accidental Tweet
Ryan found two or more bottle packs of Dogfish Head’s Midas Touch beer …. When we drink we do it right #gettingslizzerd
Simply introducing people to a new platform and then leaving them to their own devices is a recipe for disaster.
With the prospect of a provincial election on the horizon, Monsieur Legault and other Québec politicians, and their respective parties, should hone their social media skills … and possibly opt for some coaching to make the most of their foray in social media waters.
Every organization needs to have some way of monitoring social media either by humans or by automated tools so that they can be alerted to a crisis situation and be ready to respond. Keep an eye on social media and be prepared to respond if something needs immediate attention.
In a recent too-close-to-call election campaign, Alberta’s Progressive Conservative (PC) party saw how quickly things can go off the social rails. A PC staffer took to her personal Twitter account in response to a promise from the Wildrose Party to introduce new programs and services aimed at young families.
From her personal Twitter account, Amanda Wilkie directed a tweet at Danielle Smith, leader of the Wildrose party:
“If @ElectDanielle likes young and growing families so much, why doesn’t she have children of her own?”
Danielle Smith had undergone several unsuccessful fertility treatments in an effort to have children. PC leader Alison Redford ended up apologizing to Smith. Within hours, Wilkie removed the tweet and deleted her account. She was promptly fired.
Do “likes” on Facebook translate to votes? Howard Kurtz and Lauren Ashburn of Daily-Download.com examine that issue with Ray Suarez and also explore why traditional news outlets are partnering with social media sites this election year.
Instant Friends – Just Add Water
Don’t be fooled by false friends … it has been suggested that the Romney campaign is buying followers to catch up to President Obama’s giant social footprint?
TV Talk Show Host Caught in Double Whammy Twitter Gaffe
One of the key benefits of social media is that your messages can reach more people faster. But this also means that your mistakes can too.
A social gaffe can lead to an awkward situation and can be quite embarrassing especially if it’s as a result of your own actions. Make sure you have your story straight – go social without the facts and you’ll have egg on your face.
The road to hell is often paved with good intentions
The same medium that made your mistake widely visible can help broadcast your apology. Be up-front about the mistake you made and apologize.
Despite having the best of intentions, Monsieur Dumont faltered on many fronts:
He was deceived by a spoof Twitter account attributed to former French first lady Carla Bruni. The fake-Bruni falsely announced the death of “Margareth Thatcher”, notice the misspelled first name with a “th” at the end of Margaret.
Key take-aways: beware of rumors, famous fakes and misspellings
He caused outrage since people took offence to him calling Margaret Thatcher a “rare” woman of vision and decisiveness. This was interpreted as an unintended slight to women.
Key take-away: carefully word your tweets; it’s amazing how much trouble you can get into with as little as 140 characters
We all tweet things we don’t mean to share, but now – thanks to Politwoops – politicians have no way to hide them. The service allows you to discover tweets that politicians shared and then promptly deleted.
Did you Tweet something, then change your mind? Don’t worry! It’s easy to delete one of your Twitter updates. Keep in mind that you can only delete tweets that you have made, you can’t delete other users’ tweets from your timeline and you can’t delete someone else’s retweet (RT) of your post.
Remember that despite your best efforts, mistakes happen at some point. Be sure to have a plan to respond to both positive and negative events. Apologizing opens up the doors to communication, which allows you to reconnect and move on more easily. Apologizing doesn’t have to be difficult, and can come from a place of strength. Learn the art of apologizing effectively and you may find a significant reduction in the negative effects of highly charged situations.
When everyone can see what you’re doing, you need to act with transparency, honesty and credibility. In doing so, you’ll avoid having eggs thrown at you.
The re-imagination section includes several examples of business models through to what Kleiner Perkins’ refers to as:
the “third wave of innovation,” combining social networking, mobile and e-commerce.
In December, 2010 Mary Meeker left her position as a managing director at Morgan Stanley and head of the bank’s global technology research team to become a partner at the Silicon Valley venture capital firm of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. Meeker was named “one of the ten smartest people in tech” by “Fortune” magazine in 2010.
Apologizing doesn’t have to be difficult, and can come from a place of strength. Learn the art of apologizing effectively and you may find a significant reduction in the negative effects of highly charged situations.
On April 27-28 2011 hundreds of tornados spread destruction across the Southern, Midwestern and Northeastern United-States. The state of Alabama was especially hit hard on the day of the outbreak. April 27 2011 would turn out to be one of the worse tornado days in United States history with a record 205 tornadoes touching down that day.
I’m a big fan of Backcountry, I love to browse their site for skiing gear. Friends often tease me that I should be awarded stock options in return for my enthusiastic endorsement of the company. Not a ski trip goes by when I don’t bring them up in conversation.
Founded in 1996, Backcountry is an online outdoor retailer that specializes in high-end outdoor recreation gear. Backcountry.com was named the 2009 Backpacker Magazine/SNEWS Online Retailer of the Year and consistently makes the ranks of Internet Retailer Magazine’s Best of the Web Top 50 Retail Sites many times.
I plan my shopping and purchases based on the site deals. More often than not, I am made aware of the deals by way of the regular emails I get from the company. You can imagine my disbelief when the following appear in my inbox on April 27 2011:
A Tasteful Apology Arrives the Next Day
The apology by CEO Jay Layfield is timely, sincere and to the point. The communication leads with the apology and also includes an explanation about the realities of email marketing. Backcountry is up-front about the mistake. They are able to resolve this unfortunate issue and move forward while being sensitive to those affected by the devastating tornados.
Amazon cloud outage takes down Netflix, Instagram, Pinterest, & more
On July 29 2012, an outage of Amazon’s Elastic Compute Cloud in North Virginia took down Netflix, Pinterest, Instagram, and other services. Amazon Inc.’s web services division provides web services and data storage facilities. Netflix, Instagram and Pinterest used Twitter and Facebook to update subscribers after violent storms across the eastern U.S. caused server outages for hours.
Many Instagram’s users were searching for answers. “Instagram” was the top search term on Google on June 30th, according to Google Trends.
The art of communication is the language of leadership. James Humes
Apologizing Opens up the Doors to Communication
Apologizing doesn’t have to be difficult, and can come from a place of strength. Learn the art of apologizing effectively and you may find a significant reduction in the negative effects of highly charged situations. Apologizing opens up the doors to communication, which allows you to reconnect and move on more easily.
Social Media Blunders: It’s best to think in terms of “when” instead of “if” situations
Everything you do, and everything you don’t do, communicates about your brand. A mistake speaks volumes about your (in)ability to manage social media effectively. Remember that despite your best efforts, mistakes happen at some point.
You said something, disclosed confidential information or shared images that are not supportive of your business. How do you recover from such a slip up?
Irrespective of its origins, you must respond quickly to a social media crisis. Successful crisis management depends largely on developing a planned and integrated communications approach.
Whether you accidentally tweet an insensitive message or a customer posts a disparaging video about your product, don’t panic. The starting point is to apologize via the same medium where the highly visible mistake originated. Offer an apology in public comments. Explain how you will take steps to ensure that the situation doesn’t happen again.
Making an apology can be complex but it has to sound simple and sincere
It is very simple to apologize but constructing the right words to say will take some time. Whenever possible, personalize your response to a specific person or through the face / voice of your corporation. Be sure to strike the right tone.
There are three little words that extraordinary leaders know how to say, and I’m not thinking of “I love you” (but those are pretty good). The magic words are “I was wrong.” Husbands and wives know that saying those words to each other can be even more endearing than endearments. When leaders say them to their teams in a timely fashion, they build confidence and can move on to a better path.
The simple sentence “I was wrong” is the hardest for leaders to utter and the most necessary for them to learn.
If a leader cannot admit being wrong in a timely fashion, he or she can never correct mistakes, change direction, and restore success. The consequences get worse the longer the denial prevails.
Of course, we don’t want leaders who are forced to say “I was wrong” too often.
Perhaps apology training will become a growth business. Actually, I hope not. But I do hope that smart leaders will be more alert to problems, and if mistakes are made, they can utter the three magic words and take corrective action.
While you might want publicity to be the end result of your public relations effort, this is not always the case. You don’t always govern the source and means of public attention. Publicity is not always positive and is not always under the control of your organization. You and your brand are open to general observation. Be sure to have a plan to respond to both positive and negative events. Know when and how to apologize.
Mistakes are always forgivable, if one has the courage to admit them. Bruce Lee
Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me) by Carol Tavris and Elliot Aronson; offers a fascinating explanation of self-deception—how it works, the harm it can cause, and how we can overcome it.
Mobile social networking is surging and calls for new user paradigms and behaviors … but nothing kills faster than poor execution.Mobile methods to engage the customer are expanding, making control of the engagement a higher priority for maximum reach and effective conversion.
Don’t be too quick to dismiss the usefulness of QR Codes. Naysayers usually narrowly describe them as “QR codes in ads”. Before deeming QR codes ineffective, consider them in a broader spectrum than B2C advertising. Armed with a specific goal and positioned in the right medium, they can be highly effective.
Be very clear with your mobile-social goals:
What are you trying to accomplish?
Who are you trying to reach?
What’s your success target?
B2B : Business-to-business (B2B) describes commerce transactions between businesses, such as between a manufacturer and a wholesaler, or between a wholesaler and a retailer.
Business-to-government (B2G, sometimes BtA or business-to-administration) is a derivative of B2B marketing and often referred to as a market definition of “public sector marketing” which encompasses marketing products and services to various government levels – including federal, state and local – through integrated marketing communications techniques such as strategic public relations, branding, marcom, advertising, and web-based communications
e-Government: The four types of e-government services are Government-to-Citizen (G2C), Government-to-Business (G2B), Government-to-Employee (G2E), and Government-to-Government (G2G).
Business-to-Consumer (B2C, sometimes BtC) is a term that describes communication and trade relations between companies and private individuals (consumers).
BYOD : Here, There and Everywhere
Coupled with the BYOD movement overtaking the business world, there’s an opportunity to capitalize on mobile-social behavior in many settings.
Bring your own device (BYOD) is an alternative strategy allowing employees, business partners and other users to use a personally selected and purchased client device to execute enterprise applications and access data. Source: Gartner Glossary.
For 2012, Deloitte forecasts that smartphones will influence $159 billion in retail sales.
Deloitte’s Study is based on a survey of United States consumers about how they use their smartphones to shop today and measures the impact of smartphones on in-store sales. This includes in-store sales driven by consumers’ store-related smartphone activity such as product research, price comparison or other mobile application use.
QRart: According to Gartner (as of July 2011), QR/color code is positioned in the early “slope of enlightenment” stage with an 2-5 years estimated time frame to full mainstream adoption (i.e. reaching plateau of productivity).
Following are 3 examples of cross-media optimization with QR Codes:
Walgreens: mobile app adoption
Fandango: mobile tickets sales
Shoebox: increase Facebook fan base
In its qrcode101 approach, Walgreens cleverly directs customers to the Walgreens’ Mobile App with built-in QR scanner versus an independent QR scan application.
For more on Walgreens Cross-Media Optimization, check out the following SlideShare Companion.
“Mobile purchases now comprise 27 percent of Fandango’s overall ticket sales.” | Jessica Yi, chief product officer at Fandango | July 2012
One of them focuses on Maple Leaf Foods, a leading consumer packaged food company; headquartered in Toronto with operations across Canada and in the United States. In August 2008, deaths were linked to listeriosis from contaminated meat originating from a Maple Leaf Foods plant. The company reacted quickly and without hesitation.
However, ultimately, the company’s swift and thorough response will not be considered enough. Because their actions will be of small comfort to those who have been sickened or who have lost loved ones to this nasty bacterial outbreak.
For the most part, Ms. Blanc agrees with Ms. Martin’s assessment of Maple Leaf Foods’ operational execution from a traditional crisis management standpoint (newspapers, press release, web site updates) and that the company reacted swiftly to the situation.
However, Ms. Blanc carries her analysis a bit further and exposes where the company fell short on the digital and social media fronts. While Twitter and Facebook were not yet widely embraced by corporations in 2008, she argues that a corporate blog and digital media integration would have helped Maple Leaf Foods fair better in its operational response to the crisis.
Ms. Blanc points out that a regularly nurtured blog helps with search engine referencing and develops strong ties with key constituents. The company would have greatly benefited from a social media listening strategy (proactive reputation monitoring) and a corporate blog (to complement press release and regular updates). A response via a corporate blog is easily passed around and has some degree of permanence. However, you don’t want to create a blog just for the reply.
Not only did Maple Leaf Foods suffer from poor search engine indexing, it failed to purchase key words such as “maple leaf” and “listeriosis”. As it turns out, these key words had been purchased by a law firm seeking support in a class action suit against the company. Consequently, at the height of the crisis, a web search on “maple leaf” and listerioisis” weren’t optimized to the company’s response in top search engine results. This is clearly not the type of social lessons that a company wants to learn in the midst of a crisis.
Social media is legendary for its transparency and speed. This can turn out to be a double edge sword as mistakes can be highly and widely visible.
Did you have a slip of the key? Perhaps it was an accidental tweet, an unfortunate typo or a well-meaning but poorly worded Facebook post? Maybe the brewing crisis originated from outside issues such as a customer complaint or an economic, political or a natural disaster.
After your first acknowledgement, take time (not too much, though) to craft a more detailed response. It doesn’t have to be exponentially longer than your original note, but it should contain three things:
Your understanding and acknowledgement of the problem
Affirmation that you have learned from the situation
The steps you’re taking to correct it now and prevent it from happening in the future.
Lessons Learned? Assess your response and its impact, build knowledge into the plan
Everything you do, and everything you don’t do, communicates about your brand. A mistake speaks volumes about your (in)ability to manage social media effectively. Remember that despite your best efforts, mistakes happen at some point. The key is not to panic, but to implement a social media response plan to quickly restore credence in your brand. Invest in “listening” as it offers the ability to learn from what your customers are saying.
A faux pas is a violation of accepted social norms. Although these norms can vary wildly from one culture to another, their basic premise is “be respectful of others”.
The first time I had dinner with my then future mother-in-law, I committed a dinner etiquette faux pas (elbow on table if you must know). She didn’t say a word but her eyes and look communicated volumes. It’s a scene I’ll never forget. Luckily, in time, I was able to redeem myself and the transgression was quickly forgotten.
In today’s connected world, you virtual actions are documented and magnified. A faux pas can be greatly amplified and spiral out of control. Given the immediacy and reach of social media, having basic rules of thumb around social media do’s and don’ts is more than a good idea. You should know and follow your company conduct guidelines. Social Media is an extension of these guidelines.
Use your best judgment. If you aren’t sure whether what you are about to post is appropriate, review it carefully and question what you’ve written with an objective mind. (I like to think of my mother-in-law in this case. I ask myself: would she approve?)