The mistake which according to a few sources was linked to a Google algorithm glitch which spread like wildfire on social media. The Bakery chain which was founded in 1939 and has around 2,000 stores in the UK responded very quickly to the offensive slogan (“Providing sh** to scum for over 70 years”) which was seen on the Google Knowledge Graph.
— Google UK (@GoogleUK) August 19, 2014
As you can see from the embedded tweet, the social media team used this situation to their advantage by replying instantaneously and being creative with their tweets and a result Google fixed the error in search.
This is a lesson to any business out there that being socially savvy can help you any in particular PR dilemma that you might face. If you are company with a lack of SEO knowledge and resources we definitely recommend these essential pointers :
Listen to what has been said
We live in a world where there is instant gratification and a lot of people (as we have seen from past examples) have used social sites without thinking and this is when things start to escalate.
The golden rule therefore would be to sit back and reflect the situation and decide how you are going to strategize the crisis that has been created; listen to both sides of the argument before stepping in.
Be quick to respond
As previously mentioned about Greggs, the key to them handling their social media crisis was down to timing. If you are in a situation where the incident takes place out of office hours for example, make sure you respond within 24 hours. It is imperative that you inform your audience that you will respond as soon as the situation has been fully investigated. In addition, make sure you have someone in place who you can contact when a crisis happens, especially during the weekends.
Look at the overall picture
It’s very easy to be defensive when a social media crisis happens, however, what some brands have failed to do in the past is look at the overall picture. If possible, get a communications expert in who can advise on what tone and language to use when going forward. Moreover, it is about being human and saying “sorry” (and meaning it!) can go a long way.
One of the worst things you can do is neglect the comments that have been posted on your timeline or that have been tweeted or even delete them as a certain company once did. This will escalate the situation even more, take time to read the comments and answer back accordingly. At the end of the day it is all about being honest and open with your audience.
Greggs is a perfect example of how to deal with social media crisis management, what started off as bad publicity quickly transformed into a great marketing campaign from the Greggs’ social media team. You can’t unfortunately control the content that goes viral online, however, as Greggs have shown, be the first to acknowledge the problem and if you find yourself in a similar issue to Greggs, immediately get in touch with Google or the source and don’t end up being the last to know about the situation. Turn a negative into a positive and use humour (but use it wisely) acknowledge and accept the situation and think very carefully about your tone of voice during a social media crisis.