Views on business social media are very split. Some people put every penny they have on that medium, others don’t invest at all. There is no right answer in this case, it really depends on the type of business you’re running. What is key, is to have a crisis plan for social media. We all know the almost tragic case of Oasis juices, and the ton of angry critics from clients who were very disappointed to see the brand sue a smaller company for a tiny matter.
The answer was unfortunately very slow, and their Facebook page was inundated with messages that were quite unflattering to them. There was also an impressive amount of pages created with the sole purpose of boycotting the brand over this matter. At the time, Oasis did not have a crisis management plan in place. They invested very little in this media, having simply created the page, and posting their press releases and other successes every once in a while.
And that’s not a bad thing. If you don’t have the time, the money, or you don’t see the use of social media for your business, do that. Use your Facebook page as a depository for the successes of your company, and answer questions of your fans, if any ever come up. That should take you about 5 minutes per day, and it costs nothing. However, a major slip up like Oasis’, that’s expensive. The company lost revenue, an became a dinner table joke, the “what not to do” example.
Have a clear and well thought out plan. What do you do if a crisis breaks out on social media? You have to answer, not in two hours, not tomorrow, now. Ideally, come in with a direct and simple solution. In the Oasis case, they should have reacted with : “We are sorry, we never meant to harm another Quebec company, we will pull the lawsuit and pay back any legal fees incurred.” It’s simple, it ends the crisis, and it show the sincerity of the brand. Oasis eventually had this message, but it was already too late. If the crisis is burning up social media, clients usually have a definitive opinion on the matter. The simplest way to deal with it is give them what they want, if possible. And if it isn’t, have a very good reason why.