Social media can either be a business’s best friend or its worst enemy when it comes to a potential crisis.
Last week it was business as usual for Amy’s until an episode of Gordon Ramsay’s “Kitchen Nightmares” aired that revealed some shocking revelations about the owners and their restaurant. It wasn’t long after that the show was up on YouTube and owners Samy and Amy Bouzaglo took to Facebook to defend themselves against Ramsay, the Reddits and the Yelpers of the world in what is one of the worst social media fails we have ever seen.
While it’s been quite entertaining, I am sure we can all agree taking to a social media platform to insult customers and lash out about bad reviews is probably not the best way to handle a brand crisis. In fact, it would be on the list of things to absolutely not do under any circumstances.
But I digress.
With the incident now- viral, it’s a reminder for communications professionals just how important good public relations can be not just offline but online and just how important having a crisis plan in place is to a brand.
Last month, I had the privilege of attending the PRSA Western District Conference where Tracy Weise, co-founder and president of Weise Communications, talked all about crisis communications plans and what to do if you find yourself in the midst of a crisis situation.
So, with that being said—here are a few tips for the outrageous duo making headlines for the next time they find themselves under scrutiny.
- Do take control of the situation—have a team in place and a plan established
- Do be prepared for how quick social media travels
- Do control all messaging (including social) that comes out
- Do be the first one to get the facts out, and make sure those facts are presented by the right people (not angry, irrational individuals)
And of course the obvious don’ts:
- Don’t lie. That’s basic business 101.
- Don’t engage in online warfare—remember once something is on the internet, it’s there forever.
- And definitely don’t start throwing insults to defend your brand. As you can see, doing so doesn’t end well for anyone.
What lessons have you or your business learned about social media from this or your own experiences in engaging with negative commenters on your social sites?