Social media is optimal for promoting interaction between your company and the public in a way that is meaningful and delivers results. But a social media crisis can send your company into a tailspin if your social media campaign is not on target.
Several top companies have experienced social media woes that they could have easily avoided – or at the very least minimized. Here are a few examples, followed with the steps they might have taken to avoid a social media crisis.
Good intentions gone bad: Ask JP
JP Morgan launched a live Q&A with its top executives on Twitter hoping to humanize its business for the masses. The resulting social media circus was not what they were bargaining for. This open forum came at the wrong time, when banks were held in low regard by most of the public. The campaign was immediately shut down.
- As an alternative to an open forum, JP Morgan should have addressed a single issue instead.
- A blog post on an important issue could have kept the focus on topic, instead of allowing a public brouhaha.
Timing is everything: Volkswagen emissions uproar
The EPA notified Volkswagen of an emissions problem, and the uproar that ensued was massive. Volkswagen is normally quite savvy online, but in this instance, the company lost control of the situation, allowing customers to control the conversation.
- With advanced notice of the EPA announcement, the usually vocal business went silent. Hiding from the problem escalated the situation.
- Instead of hiding their heads in the sand, Volkswagen should have owned the situation and steered the conversation to minimize fallout.
The NFL and Deflategate
This public relations disaster was much bigger than it needed to be. Neither the NFL nor Tom Brady used the powerful online weapons at their disposal to play down the scandal. Instead of communicating their side of the story, they let the drama unfold in the court of public opinion without the benefit of their version of events.
- Speaking out and being more transparent would have minimized the impact of this story.
Fast food drama: Subway and Jared
Rumors about Jared had been circulating for years on the internet, and Subway's lack of preparedness plus lack of sympathy for the spokesperson's victims appeared negligent at best. How could Subway have managed this PR crisis better?
- Better planning is the obvious takeaway, but more than that, consistent messaging would have been a plus. Firmly standing behind its decision to cut ties with Jared and responding sympathetically in regards to the victims would have looked much better than "no further comment."
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