Social media: The good, the bad and the ugly

by | Aug 16, 2017 | Analysis, Public Relations

Social media often puts brands in the proverbial minefield. Developing content, creating a posting schedule and community management aren’t easy.

While everyone focuses on the copy for a witty post or how many “likes” the latest GIF received, the most important aspect of a brand’s social profile is community management.

Engagement—not just witty posts—is often what wins the day in social media.

The Good: DiGiorno saves the day!

A consumer’s mom accidentally ordered a pizza without cheese and sauce using the Domino’s app.

Her son tweeted a photo of the pizza and mentioned Domino’s (but didn’t use its Twitter handle) in his post. The tweet received more than 12,000 retweets and 36,000 likes, but Domino’s never responded.

So DiGiorno stepped in, reaching out to tell the consumer to delete the Domino’s app and DM DiGiorno instead.

Once the team had his info, DiGiorno mailed him coupons for 10 free pizzas and a handwritten note saying he won’t have to worry about these pizzas not having cheese or sauce.

Seventy-one percent of consumers who say they had a good social media service experience with a brand are likely to recommend it to others (Ambassador).

DiGiorno’s fast thinking and opportunistic social media engagement elevated the brand and built goodwill — and included sauce on all its pizzas.

The Bad: Domino’s — where you at?

Consumers (and the president) unleashing their frustration or questions on social media has become the norm. Seventy-eight percent of people who complain to a brand via Twitter expect a response within an hour (Lithium). To succeed with Millennials, brands must be actively engaged on all their social networks. Domino’s lack of response — whether from a low interest level or the company just missed the kid’s tweet — became a response in and of itself. And it did not go unnoticed.

The Ugly: Ann Coulter vs Delta

When a consumer complains about a product or experience on social media, the most important action a brand can take is moving the conversation to a private channel.

After a disappointing experience on a recent Delta Airlines flight, Ann Coulter fired off several tweets complaining to Delta about her experience. The airline responded a few hours later with a two-part tweet.

The second tweet went unnoticed by Coulter, who continued to publicly complain about how the airline handled the situation. Unable to move the conversation to a private channel, Delta attempted to solve the problem publicly — which only made it worse.

Complaining on social media has become a spectator sport — per Adweek, about 40 percent of complaints happen in public. Once a complaint is launched, people sit back and watch brands attempt to defuse hostile situations. Most times these problems can’t be solved on the spot, but the simple act of replying can help. If done the correct way (regardless of how you feel about Coulter’s angry tweets).

The Ritz-Carlton’s response to Leslie Jones shows how to correctly move the conversation to a private channel.

No one knows why Jones complained and without any further post, everyone will assume the problem was resolved.

How should you handle social media complaints? Respond immediately, apologize for the inconvenience (not the problem) and move the conversation to a private channel to work on a resolution. Above all else, do not engage in a public discussion. Because even when you’re right, you’re wrong.

Christian Gaddis
Christian Gaddis is a Senior Account Executive of Public Relations at Eric Mower & Associates.


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