I work in the online/social media industry, and advise our clients on how to use this sort of technology well. So, what would I have advised Mad Mex to do? (Besides not post that in the first place?)
- Acknowledge when something goes wrong. It’s one thing to remove offensive content, it’s another to take responsibility for what went wrong. They should have posted a follow-up post on Facebook and explain why that content was posted, and what they’re doing to make sure it won’t happen again.
- Engage and discuss. I had started a conversation with them by commenting on Facebook and Twitter. They should have responded without being pushed by me to do so.They should have reached out to me immediately - on Twitter, in public - to assuage my concerns, and bring me back into the fold.
- Convert the negative to a positive. A great social media story is one where a concerned customer becomes a passionate advocate. An embarrassing, bad-smell kind of social media story is one where a concerned customer is brushed off and becomes even angrier. They should have chatted with me for a few minutes to understand my concerns, and convince me that they had taken my feedback on board.
- Make sure it doesn’t happen again. Clear social media guidelines and good training would have stopped this happening. This wasn’t a slight discrepancy - this was a photo of a naked unconscious woman being used to sell food. This should never have gotten past their internal controls - and if they don’t have these internal controls in place already, they should get them sorted.
And then there’s number 5: If they really think nothing was wrong with their image - they should do some studying of previous social media bellyflops that did other brands no favours. I’m thinking of Toyota’s sexist Yaris ad campaign, in particular.
It’s not rocket science - it’s just simple social media engagement. Come on Mad Mex, you know how to do it right - don’t let cheap sexist jokes get in the way of what has been a great brand.