Managing elephant-sized social media blunders

April 6, 2011

Global brand strategist Jonathan Salem Baskin can’t help but scratch his head over the rationale behind the controversial social media dispatch from GoDaddy founder Bob Parsons. The flamboyant CEO sparked a backlash recently when he posted a video link to his elephant shoot in Kenya Zimbabwe.

Baskin offers the following advice on how small businesses can prevent or manage social media blunders.

Q: Are social media posts pertaining to a business owner’s non-business doings relevant to consumers?

A: It is a sideshow. Just because there’s (social) media that helps blur those things doesn’t mean you have to fall for it. YouTube doesn’t care if your employees humiliate themselves. The stupider you are, the happier these platforms are because it creates buzz and traffic. You don’t make any money from that.

Q: What about the old argument that no press is bad press?

A: That’s a cliché quote from 50 years ago. If anything, it’s either at best neutral and at worst it turns people off. Aren’t half the people in America women? The last time I checked — so he’s already writing off half of America with his (prior) stupid shenanigans. Now he wants to write off anybody who loves animals. What is the attention good for?

Q: You sound like a traditionalist. What about the idea that these need channels facilitate more interaction between businesses and their customers?

A: The technology shouldn’t’ change what you talk about and why you talk. Rules haven’t changed. Just because you can doesn’t mean you should. There is a wide range of possibilities available to businesses to better engage with customers. The goal is not engagement, the goal is selling. Engagement is how we get there. So if it’s not a direct line, not even dotted line, to a sales transaction, you really need to ask long and hard not just if I can, but should I?

Baskin’s tips for managing the fallout from social media gaffes:

1. Figure out how to end it as soon as possible and the best way to end it is to apologize.

2. If you truly alienated or otherwise offended people who really matter to you, you have to circle back to them, whether they’re critics, influential bloggers or more importantly, actual customers.

3. Avoid doing the same thing again. If you don’t learn your lesson from what Parsons is doing and you go do it yourself, then shame on you. Just because you can do something doesn’t really mean you should.

2 comments

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[...] Managing elephant-sized social media blunders – Reuters Blogs (blog) [...]

[...] morning, I get an email linking an article from Reuters called, “Managing Elephant-Sized Social Media Blunders.”  The article features an Q&A with brand strategist Jonathan Salem Baskin followed by [...]

The “customer is always right” still holds true, if your customers disagree with something you have done you should make it right and not tell them to bad you will do what you want.

Posted by seogeeker | Report as abusive

[...] Jonathan Salem Baskin, whose commentary recently inspired a series of entries, gave an interview with Reuters where this incident was called an “elephant-sized social media blunder.” [...]

1. This was not a social media blunder. This was actually a social media success. You need to look at the success of the results: http://wp.me/p1hiro-jn

2. This video was likely faked. You never, ever see an elephant in the whole video: http://wp.me/p1hiro-jt

Posted by MichaelCheek | Report as abusive

[...] information isn’t easy, but it is manageable as long as you confront problems head-on. Apologize if necessary and clarify your message through as many channels as possible, including social media [...]

[...] information isn’t easy, but it is manageable as long as you confront problems head-on. Apologize if necessary and clarify your message through as many channels as possible, including social media [...]