Say what you will about social media, but its impact is profound, and wide-reaching. As a business owner, a poor review on social media can cause a drastic decline in clientele. As a human being, being defamed on Facebook can cause you to be a party to some suspicious glances at a social gathering. For the product industry, any company that puts a production out for purchase, social media can do both good, and harm. Which way it goes for the producer all depends on whether or not their product is doing harm, or good and how they handle it in the aftermath.
Very recently, someone posted a story about Huggies Baby Wipes being made with fiberglass, and there were pictures showing shards of what appeared to be a glass-like substance on said wipes. Some mothers went as far as to claim that their child had developed a severe diaper rash as a result of the product. The crazy thing about this post? I saw it sixty-eight different times, shared by friends, tagging my friends, or as something a friend had commented on. Now, I keep my Facebook friends list pretty modest, so sixty-eight is nearly twenty per cent of my Facebook friendships.
Parents claim of glass found in diaper wipes. http://t.co/LzImhV2p2N
— Nestled (@nestledco) September 1, 2015
Within 24 hours, the issue concerning Huggies Wipes was a trending topic, and EVERYONE had something to say. People were inspecting their boxes of wipes, posting recipes for homemade wipes, and scorning Huggies for doing such a thing. Within 12 hours of the trending update, Huggies responded. They denied there was any wrongdoing, that they were aware of, and offered to rectify the situation should your wipes be part of the issue. They even offered an explanation to the extremists that were virtually calling for their heads. The next day, it was a dead issue. It was no longer trending, no one was sharing, and the baby wipe debacle of 2015 went away as fast as it started.
A couple of years ago there was a video going around claiming that a skin irritation was being caused by discount shampoo. Some said it was Head and Shoulders, and some said it was another bargain brand. These videos showed close up images of a lotus seed pod transposed over a human’s shoulder, claiming this was some sort of larval infection caused by the shampoo. People went crazy over this, but upon clicking the video you were then taken to a survey site, where you were asked for your information. It was an obvious scam, but it didn’t stop people from sharing the image and believing the story. Apparently, Head and Shoulders didn’t feel the video was important that they had to respond or issue a statement, but you can believe, there are people that still aren’t using the shampoo.
From antibiotics, to food, to vaccinations, it has all been defamed via social media. People snub their noses at the importance of social media in our generation, but some companies have been profoundly impacted by the negative feedback they’ve received on social media. Major companies have suffered major losses, as a result of a social media post. Take, for example, a mega famous fast food chain that announced its religious beliefs not so long ago. Their business suffered major losses from people that disagreed with their stance, while at the same time, gaining new customers that supported their stance. Had their initial statement not been made so available to the public, they may have never lost any business, but social media is a powerful drug.
When people are dissatisfied with service they receive, a product they’ve purchased, or an experience at a particular location they take to the internet. They post reviews, they create a status update blasting the company, or they angrily comment every time someone mentions that particular object. People are powerful, especially in mobs, so before you think social media isn’t important, think again. Everyone is eager to be a living room critic, and their opinions are being spread to their friends, and then their friends, and their friends. Get it?
The best way to handle bad press is head on, and everyone is going to have bad press because you can’t please everyone. If you ignore bad reviews, they’re going to keep spreading on a viral level. People will shun your business for ignoring them, and tell everyone they know about their negative experience. However, a simple acknowledgement can save your business serious losses, and appease the defamer. Nod your head, and acknowledge that the bad thing has happened, and apologize profusely WITHOUT admitting to legal responsibility. Basically, say you’re sorry it happened, you understand why it was so traumatizing for them, but you were unaware of it happening at the time.
Before you sit back in your office and laugh at the business down the street using social media to enhance their business strategy, remember that even a mega-corporation like Huggies felt it necessary to pay attention to their newfound social media presence. Most of the businesses needing social media management aren’t huge companies, and a little bad press will go a long way. Never ignore a bad review, they don’t just go away.