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Published April 11th 2013

Social Media Failures Can Happen on Any Scale

There have been a litany of recent ‘social media disasters’, many of which tech blogs are eager to highlight and ridicule. We’ve written plenty of times about the perils of social failures, listing the worst, dispensing advice and providing valuable (we hope) articles on managing your reputation online.

The biggest and greatest fails often come from the largest brands, but how important is it to keep tabs on your online reputation if you’re a local business?

Very much so? Not at all? To some extent? Don’t know?

The answer is ‘very much so’.

A local Brighton pub yesterday demonstrated how catastrophic poor handling of social can prove. After responding to a polite inquiry in a generally blunt and unhelpful way, the small venue amazingly went so far as to publish the full exchange to their own Facebook page.


Instead of the anticipated support for the pub, a slew of comments were quickly posted in response to the update, almost every single one highlighting the pub’s rudeness and lack of social service savvy.

We’ve seen failures, sure, but seldom is it seen that a brand actually posts their own shortcomings on their owned channels.


Unsurprisingly, despite a resolute defence of their actions and a refusal to apologise or even acknowledge how they could be the bad guys in this scenario, the update was soon pulled.

It hasn’t stopped people commenting on their wall, nor has it remedied the mob of ‘fans’ that have openly criticised the pub.


All this really underlines the value in managing your reputation online effectively, regardless of your size or the locality of your problem

Though you can find plenty of resources on how to do this around our site, and we even offer a free eBook on online customer service, here are a handful of key points to remember if you only have sixty seconds available:

  • No matter how small or local your brand is, poor customer service matters and will be noticed by your community and elsewhere
  • Have unified brand messaging, which also deals with how to deal with potential crises before they happen – who, what, where and when
  • While communication is important, being considered is more so than being quick when posting meaningful responses. The internet is more permanent than many brands think, as this article is testament to
  • Thoughtful messaging is paramount, but continuous, prompt acknowledgement and communication helps keep things from spiralling out of control
  • Honesty and transparency are imperative, as lies and denial never last for too long on the internet
  • The mob are quick to anger, especially in social. Be careful with what you post and be wary that online virality doesn’t always mean something good

EDIT: The Pav Tav have since posted a sensible and apologetic response to the situation.


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