It’s pretty well understood now by most in business that social media has created additional vulnerability: someone gets mad at you for good reason, or not so good, and if they are clever enough or if lightning strikes, their rant can go viral and cause a genuine crisis. The big question is, how do you respond?
United Airlines showed how not to when Dave Carroll saw his guitar smashed by baggage handlers. He turned a very negative experience into a bash-United song that went viral, created a new career for him, and gave people like me something to talk about for a long time.
Now, there is a new example to show, but in this case, it is one of the best examples ever of a response to a social media rant. I put it up there with Taco Bell’s brilliant response to the ridiculous lawsuit over their “hidden” beef. They placed ads saying: Thank you for suing us.
This time it was Bodyform, a make of maxipads, who was victimized by an outrageous rant on their Facebook page. A rant that quickly went viral with 40,000 likes in 20 hours (please note: 20 hours–that’s how fast these things go!)
Now, how would you respond? There is a tightrope here, thar be dragons everywhere. Take this quiz–set your own strategy before reading further and seeing the brilliant response of Bodyform.
I can’t describe it, so you will have to watch the video. Stay to the end, it’s got sort of a smelly kicker.
Here’s what I like about it:
- it fits the culture–that sly sarcasm that exposes the silliness of the complaint will resonate well with the digital mob
- medium and message match–they not only use the medium of social media, they do it in a way that totally conforms to the values of the crowd
- the “CEO” “apologizes” therefore demonstrating transparency, honesty and humility. In the process, she can hardly help making those of us who teach the “right way” to respond wriggle just a little bit, along with Richard of course.
Well done, Bodyform!
And to the Richard’s of the world who think you can embarrass savvy companies like this one, be warned. You may become the butt of your own joke.