Hughes PR

Three social media stuff-ups

Earlier in the week, we shared some classic examples of where media interviews or press conferences have gone wrong.

Today it’s social media’s turn – proving that media training is just as important in the digital media world as it is in traditional media!

Two of the social media stuff-ups to talk about happened just today! News travels fast. I read about this one this morning on photography website PetaPixel, and this is a great example of how things can snowball on social media. Nikon posted on their Facebook page “A photographer is only as good as the equipment he uses”, which prompted a huge backlash from their dedicated Facebook community.

Nine hours after Nikon posted that status update, the post has over 2,000 comments, and many more on the main Nikon page. Many photographers are disappointed at the comment, asking questions like “is a chef only as good as the stove he uses’?! It’s a great example of how a few poorly-chosen words can generate a huge negative response.

As of writing, Nikon hasn’t yet responded to the comments on Facebook…

The next example also happened today – it’s trending on Twitter and gaining momentum as I write! And it’s for this reason that I should mention that it’s all alleged – and the company hasn’t yet made an official statement. Gasp Jeans, a clothing retailer in Melbourne, was sent a letter by an unsatisfied customer and it appears they could have resolved the issue quickly and quietly behind closed doors. Instead it seems they wrote a letter in response that was – well, extraordinary. You have to see it to believe it.

The customer went to social media to express her disgust at the way she was treated by Gasp – and in the words of Melbourne Weekly – created a “social media sensation”.

Gasp needs to act on this and act quickly – yet it appears they are furiously deleting negative comments on their Facebook page (I’ve seen the comment numbers go up and down like a yoyo!) and not saying a word. Hoping it will all go away? Can’t wait to see how this one will play out!

The moral of the story here? There are no barriers to content on social media – you need to remember that any communication from your brand (such as a letter) is legitimate material to be analysed by the entire world on social media. A private one-on-one conversation with a customer is no more – “one impression turns into a million impressions so you better make sure those impressions are the right impressions”!

While it didn’t happen today (!), finally we have a classic example that highlights the need to remain genuine when communicating in social media.

Hugh Jackman was in Sydney promoting his new film, when an update appeared on his Twitter feed reading: “Having lunch on the harbor [sic] across from the Opera Center. Loving life!”

Hugh Jackman TwitterThe media were onto it – surely Jackman would know the Opera HOUSE and use Australian spellings for his tweets? Jackman had to issue an apology and put the mistake down to dictating the tweet to a staff member in the United States. But alarm bells rang with Jackman’s followers – if it wasn’t him writing that tweet, how would they know he wrote all the others?

These examples show the need for brands who are using social media (and even brands who aren’t – brands may never know that these conversations are happening online if they’re not monitoring it, or being part of it!) to know their audience, be honest, and be genuine.

Make sure you head over to the training course page on our website – social media training can provide your online company spokesperson with the skills to manage online communication while staying true to company branding and objectives, and knowing how to deal with issues and complaints online.

Update (Friday 30 September, 7:30am): Nikon have responded. Calm seems to have been (largely) restored on their Facebook page!

Further update (Tuesday 15 November, 2:45pm): The Gasp social media issues continue, with a new article on Mumbrella today claiming that Gasp was caught astroturfing throughout the controversy. In our opinion, a big PR no-no!

Hughes PR is a communications and public relations consultancy with proven and extensive experience in publicity and media relations, issues management, crisis management, digital media and social media strategy and implementation, community consultation, event management, media training, publications and strategic problem solving. Find out more.


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