Pass the TEQUILA: Preventative Medicine for Social Media Meltdowns

Have you suffered a social media meltdown? If you have, you may have needed a good stiff drink (or six!) afterwards. Next time, before you do something you’ll regret with your Facebook marketing, pass the TEQUILA for a strong dose of preventative medicine.

After reviewing the Case of the Pretty Pink Purse, there are a lot of lessons we can learn from this experience. Let’s look at seven of them which might help you through your next social media mishap.

T is for Take the Discussion Offline

In this case, the seller had the opportunity to take the discussion away from the 5,000-member Facebook group, and into a Facebook private message. She did so, but did it in an aggressive, challenging way by asking the member what her problem was (see letter I: If you can’t keep your cool, keep away). She then blocked the group member before she could even answer (see letter L: Let People Vent). The group member felt unheard, so she took the conversation back to the public group, to make darn sure she would be heard in her entirety.

E is for Eat Crow.

Maybe the seller really hadn’t done anything wrong. After all, she can choose the price of her items, and prospective buyers can either purchase them at the asking price, or not. But if at any point in this event the seller had backed down from her precarious position and apologized, or even gone silent, it would have diffused the situation. But when given the opportunity, she doubled down. As you’ll see in the next post, she paid a high price for the privilege of being right.

Q is for Know when to Quit.

This seller was a frequent poster in this group, sometimes posting multiple times daily, without adding useful value back to the group by educating, entertaining, informing or inspiring through her posts. She didn’t know when to quit. She repeatedly jumps in to defend herself, and sets up an adversarial situation where she’s right and anyone who says anything otherwise is wrong. Onlookers marvel at the fact that she’s still engaging people in digital battle. This never would have blown up the way it did if she’d known when to quit.

U is for Please Don’t be Unprofessional.

No matter how upset you may get (see letter I: If you can’t keep your cool, keep away), resist the temptation to be rude, get personal, and/or hurl insults at others—especially when your name and photo is right next to your indiscretion. Welcome to the world of the internet, where the mistakes you make may be archived and indexed by search engines for anyone to find. If you’re lucky, they won’t be big enough mistakes to go viral. You’ll find that you’ll be hard pressed to separate your personal actions online from your business and career. Just ask any college student who posted too many drunken party photos on Facebook, only to find admissions letters strangely absent.

Part of professionalism includes honesty. Anyone with access to Google can to a bit of digging to either verify or refute your claims. That’s the crux of this case. Facebook users were savvy enough to question the sellers claims, and she came up short. That called her honesty and professionalism into question. Even in the thick of it, sensing the possibility of a sale, she morphs into cheesy used-car-sales friendly mode (“This is inspired ladies.”), before becoming argumentative again. After the events of the day, any potential buyer would be hard pressed to trust the seller.

Tweet: For the love of all things Pee Wee Herman, use correct spelling, punctuation, and grammar. — @KathleenHeuer please, for the love of all things Pee Wee Herman, use correct spelling, punctuation, and grammar. That’s the bare minimum of professionalism!
(Tweet that!) 

I is for If you can’t keep your cool, keep away.

It’s common to lose your temper in the heat of an argument such as this. The damage is done, however, when you say and do things that reflect poorly on yourself and your brand. Better to step away from the keyboard to clear your head before saying or doing something that you’ll regret, and will be difficult if not impossible to repair.

L is for Let people vent. 

Letting people have their say diffuses tense situations. From Psychology Today:

“Venting is a critical component to breaking the Anger Cycle because venting reduces frustration. Empathic statements portray the target of the anger as non-threatening, which reduces the impact of the angry person’s flight/fight response. Once angry people vent their frustrations, they become more open to solutions because they think more clearly when they are not angry. Venting is not a singular event, but, rather, a series of events. The initial venting is typically the strongest. This allows angry people to “burn off” most of their anger at the onset of the exchange. Subsequent venting becomes increasingly less intense, unless fuel is added to reignite the anger. This is especially true if angry people are allowed to expend most of their anger during the initial venting.”

Had the seller allowed the group member who initially challenged her pricing to vent in a private message, the conflagration may never have kindled in the first place.

A is for Act Fast

The sooner you catch any trouble, the better. Fewer people see it, and you nip the problem in the bud, before others can find it shareworthy. Miss it or ignore it, though, and more people see it. More people share it. Damage control becomes infinitely more difficult.

So a shot of TEQUILA before engaging on Facebook would have been effective preventative medicine in this case. Any one of these actions would have mitigated the situation. A combination of them may have eliminated the problem altogether.

Too many shots of tequila before Facebooking, on the other hand—well, that’s another post for another day.

Next time, we’ll take a look at the damage to the brand this incident caused. Some of the group members agreed to participate in an anonymous survey, and the results may surprise you!

Until then…TEQUILA!

Did you miss part one? Get caught up here. Ready for part three of this saga? Click here!

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One thought on “Pass the TEQUILA: Preventative Medicine for Social Media Meltdowns

  1. Pingback: The Case of the Pretty Pink Purse: Advertising Within a Local Facebook Group | Kathleen Heuer

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