In time of crisis, social media can be super handy. Some example ways that we’ve seen social media help or seriously hurt a business in a crisis.
This week, Emily Carter have been spending most of my days geeking out over the awesome lineup at the Firefly Music Festival coming up this June in Dover, Delaware. It didn’t take her long to know that she simply had to go to this summer festival. Early bird tickets went on sale Thursday at noon. A tantalizingly few tickets would be sold at a cheaper price for those lucky 5,000 patrons who bought their ticket RIGHT when they went on sale. Guess where she was?
12:00 rolled around, and the website crashed. No biggie, she told herself, it’s just overloaded and will refresh properly in a few minutes. However, two and a half hours later, she and all of her friends were still having trouble accessing the website. It was hard to tell if they’d be able to buy tickets at all, let alone at the early bird price.
Then they began to notice that the Firefly Music Festival Facebook page was posting updates the entire time that their website was down. Their posts ranged from “hey everyone, we’re here and we’re working hard,” to a flat out apology once the website fiasco was resolved. We were able to receive real-time information on what was going wrong and what would be fixed soon. While many customers were undoubtedly angry, having those regular updates kept my friends content to buy the next available tickets. We knew that despite their website issues, they were on their game.
The Bad (& The Ugly)
Last week was the day of love, Valentine’s Day. One of the most common gifts given on V-Day, as we all know, are flowers. 1-800 Flowers is one of the more well-known flower companies, and unfortunately last week they became well-known on Facebook too. About halfway through the day, She noticed that many of the friends on their news feed were talking about the many negative comments on the 1-800 Flowers Facebook page. Curious, she checked it out.
All she saw were angry customers. Everywhere. At the time (about 5:00PM on Valentine’s Day) I didn’t see any responses from 1-800 Flowers. The complaints rolled in, and the high volume of negative posts by users became a bit of a joke. Here’s an example:
Keep deleting my complaint. go ahead. I can and will keep posting it all night long. DO NOT ORDER ANYTHING FROM 1-800 FLOWERS!!!!! The roses I sent my girlfriend today were dead. They offered her some crappy rainbow bouquet of flowers cause the roses that I ordered are no longer available plus some pathetic 30 dollar credit. She was on hold for over an hour. Now I’ve just been on hold for over an hour and they just hung up on me. SUPER HEATED!!!! And to top it off I‘m freakin deaf from the extremely loud hold music they had playing. Tomorrows phone call is gonna be a bad one. Please pass this on to everyone you know. See how they like it when social media works its magic. DISLIKE! DISLIKE! DISLIKE!
Ouch. Checking back on their page today, it looks like the company has since been reaching out to respond. As someone wise once said, it’s too late to apologize.
The lesson learned here is that social media can be a godsend in a crisis. Be sure that you have a plan for when that happens, and you will end up bolstering your consumer base once you’ve cleaned up the mess.
How To Use Social Media in a Crisis By Emily Carter