When discussing social media marketing strategies, often executives get uncomfortable at the idea of giving ‘free reign’ to the consumers. The potential for a PR disaster or some kind of crisis can be unnerving. There are a number of excellent ways to use social media to mitigate a potential crisis both preemptively and reactively.
After the first presidential debate, Big Bird and PBS were able to news-jack a national story and create a larger discussion about their message. There was potential for this story to play out negatively for the organization, but they did an excellent job handling the situation and engaging in a conversation with the public on their terms.
More recently, a UK based feminine products company Bodyform took advantage of some unexpected attention. Last week a Facebook user Richard left a sarcastic and humorous message for the company, scolding the company for lying to him for all those years about the wonderful time of the month females are able to enjoy. An excerpt from the long rant includes, “I got a girlfriend, was so happy and couldn’t wait for this joyous adventurous time of the month to happen…. you lied !! There was no joy, no extreme sports, no blue water spilling over wings and no rocking soundtrack oh no no no.”
The comment soon went viral and amassed over 90,000 likes– an impressive feat considering the company itself had 6,061 as of October 18th 2012. Like all comedy, Richard’s comment had the potential to be seen as just that or perhaps taken offensively.
Luckily, Bodyform had the good sense to embrace the joke (and publicity) and the company made an equally funny response. Bodyform posted shortly after the comment was left, “We loved Richard’s wicked sense of humour. We are always grateful for input from our users, but his comment was particularly poignant. If Facebook had a “love” button, we’d have clicked it. But it doesn’t. So we’ve made Richard a video instead. Unfortunately Bodyform doesn’t have a CEO. But if it did she’s be called Caroline Williams. And she’d say this.”
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In the video response the ‘CEO’ sarcastically apologized to Richard for lying to him for so long and explains that there is no such thing as a happy period. By creating a video that most likely took the words right out of the mouths of many women, Bodyform created content that was incredibly shareable and most importantly relevant. Most of the conversation about Bodyform took place on Facebook, and by posting the video there, Bodyform took advantage of the correct platform – it was shared over 3,000 times.
These recent displays of social media marketing savvy are encouraging to those in the industry who are tired of discussing numbers of fans. The real value of social media lies in the connection that is possible between companies and their consumers. Bodyform was able to connect with their fans as well as a much wider audience on a humorous yet understanding level, thus making them appear more genuine to the consumer and largely increasing their brand awareness.
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