Online marketer Jennifer Laycock discusses ways she’s trying to recover (after online repute damage) from a social media attack related to her and her client charges, Bento Yum.
On a Bento-making forum, Jennifer got flamed for being a marketer (well, it’s as good an excuse as any) and outed for trying to fly under the blog radar. She was even compared to a predatory college jock!!
Jennifer writes: “While I’ve always had pretty thick skin, I’ve also (perhaps amazingly) never really had my professional ethics questioned, either online or off. That made climbing back in the saddle for this project difficult for me…The disappointing thing about my experience with the “she’s a marketer” controversy was the fact that even after things calmed down and the original poster apologized, many posters remained skeptical and critical of me. It was understandable from their perspective, since they had no way to know if my intentions were genuine or not. All of a sudden, I noticed rules that I’d never seen enforced for regular posters were stringently enforced for me. In fact, I had my virtual hand slapped several times, often for something I’d done that appeared in a post just below another member who had done the exact same thing. Rules are applied more stringently when you are earning your way back into people’s good graces.
In fact, Bento Yum ended up seeing three distinct marketing boosts from this experience.
Jennifer then goes on to document how this bad publicity was good after all:
everyone in the Bento community biz got to know about the company
she received direct and, often supportive, emails
she got featured on ‘snark’ forums (a new one on me) which look at online spats
She says that “The lesson here is not to assume defeat simply because you’ve stumbled into a hornet’s nest. Anyone who has dabbled in social media marketing for any length of time has run into problems like this. It’s a tricky situation and no matter how genuine your intentions or how carefully you plan your strategy, you risk angering the community. No business should explore a social media campaign unless they’re willing (and able) to deal with these types of problems.
The good news is, when problems happen in the social media realm the conversation is often transparent. Angry community members will share their frustration online and will outline exactly what has caused them to become so upset. It’s a rare chance for a business to gain a full understanding of their mistake. How companies react to these criticisms defines their ability to recover. Enter the waters of conversation with honest intentions and a genuine interest in being part of a community and you stand a very good chance of weathering the storm.