When things are going well, it’s easy to boast about your product or share information about your services. But what do you do when things go wrong—when it’s obvious everything is not going well. If you’re a small business owner or work in a marketing and branding department, you dread this day. Unfortunately, it’s inevitable that your company or brand will mess up at some point, but having a plan in place can make this day a little less worrisome.
You may be thinking that advertising your failure on social media is the last thing that should be added to your doomsday plan. But, if you can manage to use these outlets in the correct way, it can add to your brand’s advantage, showing trustworthiness and gaining customer confidence.
Take, for example, the Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams’ Recall from late April. Something that could have been horrific for the brand was handled with great care and grace through their social media channels, proving that these platforms can help restore your brand during a time of crisis.
How Jeni’s Saved Face with Social Media:
1. Acknowledged the Issue (without delay)
As most of us know, it’s always a good idea to be on the front end of a disaster, helping frame the situation in as positive of a light as possible. The day Jeni’s issued its voluntary recall, they shared the press release on their Facebook page. They didn’t wait until they had an angry mob posting on their page; they acted immediately. Jeni’s quick action and transparency gave their consumers confidence. Go take a look at the comments below the post, and you’ll find an overwhelmingly positive response. I even saw a comment along the lines of, “I’ve never tried your ice cream before, but after seeing this and how many loyal followers you have, I can’t wait!”
2. Stayed Responsive
Now is not the time to go quiet or go into hiding. Be prepared to spend more time than ever on your social media outlets, answering questions, calming fears and quelling the flames. From just browsing the posts to Jeni’s page, you can tell their team was ready and waiting for the flood of inquiries and concerns. Their response time was impressive—a few minutes in some cases. It’s also obvious that they were careful to read every comment, being sure they didn’t overlook a misplaced inquiry since some customers treated the press release posts as a customer service chatroom.
3.Refocused to the Future
Don’t dwell on the issue more than necessary; you don’t want your company to always be defined by that “one time.” You eventually need to refocus and get people excited about your brand again. Jeni’s reopening of their 22 scoop shops was a natural way for them to get customers eager about their product. They kept us all in the loop by posting images of their new, improved machinery and by sharing details of their reopening through simple, eye-catching posters. And when opening day finally arrived, they shared a video of their packed shops, out-the-door lines and hand-scooped delicious ice cream, broadcasting their success and survival through the recall.
I loved Jeni’s ice cream long before any of this happened, but the way they handled the whole situation made me love the company even more! What about you—have you seen any companies successfully use social media to navigate through a trying time?
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Faith Jones—Writer & Editor