How NOT to Handle a Social Media Crisis

Wooo doggy, Diva is in some hot water.  To give you a little background, Diva is a line of jewelry, popular with teenage girls, that recently announced that they were introducing a new Playboy line with jewelry and accessories that include the iconic bunny.  Oh that made some mothers mad.

But what has made it worse is the lack of response.  Their Facebook Page has become a place where people are posting their commentary on society and everyone is saying nasty things to each other.  It’s not pretty.  A new Twitter hashtag #boycottdiva has cropped up.  Petitions are being signed.  And fake Facebook Pages have been created to mock the Diva line.  Yikes.

Not only are they not responding, they are claiming that they are going to start banning the people who add their voice to the commentary.  Oh that’s not good.


Every company’s nightmare is to have some scandal be played out in the social media space.  That’s why many companies don’t want to have a Fan Page or if they do, they want to close the comments.  But I’m here to tell you that you don’t have to worry about these negative comments and potential scandals.  Let’s talk about what you should do and what you shouldn’t do about negativity in the social media space and how you can use it to your advantage if it happens.

1.  Negative comments are rare.  Big brands are more likely to attract some negativity but if you are doing a good job in your business, you typically won’t have anyone coming to your Facebook Wall to say bad things about you.  Also know that if they aren’t saying it on your Wall, they are saying it somewhere else.  At least this way, you know what’s being said!

2.  Don’t close your comments.  Social media is about the conversation.  If you want to just broadcast your message, get a billboard not a Fan Page.  Moderate the conversation, respond to negative comments if they come but don’t preemptively shut down the conversation.

3.  Don’t delete negative comments.  Instead respond.  This is your opportunity to show your community that you are listening.  If someone is taking the time to come to your wall and give you feedback, thank them and tell them you are working on it.  If they get completely belligerent and nasty, take it off line.  If they don’t respond to your attempts to play nice, THEN you can delete the comments and ban them.

4.  Have a response plan.  Bad choices can get made.  Customers can get mad.  But have a response plan.  If you are the target of some angry customers, then you need to respond.  Diva should be on their Facebook page responding and thanking people for their comments but having a consistent message about their choice.  When people see the consistent response, the conversation will die down.  Tell the loudest people that you are going to take it off line.  Have a Facebook Page policy in place so people know that they will get banned if they participate on the page in a way that is not consistent with your policy.

5.  Use it to your advantage.  When people see a company responding to negativity, they know that the company is listening.  Diva may choose to keep their line and claim that they serve a wider audience, not just teenagers.  But whatever they do, they need to say something – not just talk to the hand.

What do you think?  Are you afraid of getting negative comments?  Let me know in the comments below – but don’t be negative or I’ll ban you 😉

Grandma Mary

Grandma Mary is a slightly cranky Social Media Edutainer, helping small businesses leverage the power of social media. Learning social media is wayyy more fun with Grandma Mary.

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