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The Social Media Minute For November 12, 2010


More Costly Lessons In The Power Of Social Media is just one of the companies that made it into the news this week as a result of negative consumer backlash.

The evidence keeps piling up: companies – no matter their size – ignore the strength of online crowds at their peril:

  • Cooks Source Magazine, a print publication based in the Northeast, was caught plagiarizing an author’s blog post. The editor responded to the original author’s request for a correction/apology with an extremely nasty letter that showed a remarkable ignorance of copyright laws. The author blogged about it, Cooks Source’s Facebook page was inundated with negative comments, the blogosphere ate it all up, and the editor watched as her magazine’s reputation collapsed like a poorly prepared souffle’.
  • A Canadian couple was getting ready to board their Alaska Airlines flight home when their baby had a diaper blowout. The mom went to a bathroom to fix it; the father stayed in line to tell the gate agent what had happened but the agent was not sympathetic at all, giving the mom’s ticket to a standby flier. The family had to pay an extra $1300 to get home. The dad decided to start a blog: “Alaska Airlines Hates Families.” Twitter helped the complaint hit cruising altitude. A few days and an Edmonton Journal story later, the couple was fully reimbursed.
  • And then there’s Amazon, allowing a “pedophile’s guide” to be sold in its Kindle store. Which mainstream media outlet hasn’t done this story? But it started with the TechCrunch blog, and the cascade of negative comments there and at the book’s Amazon page threatening boycotts added to the shame. The company removed the book but the e-commerce giant now has more questions to answer about its self-publication sales policy.

Blog posts, comments, Facebook, Twitter: aggrieved consumers fire back at businesses in real-time now, magnifying customer service errors or business model flaws by a factor of 100. The sooner companies realize that by monitoring their brands on social networks and using those networks for rapid positive responses to crisis situations, the better for everybody involved.

BTW, Here’s The 411 on Social Media ROI’s: Learn Them ASAP

The power in online conversations during crisis mode, as mentioned above, fits right into Paul Dunay’s excellent post, 3 More ROI’s In Social Media – Conversations, Leads and Advocates on his Buzz Marketing for Technology blog. Dunay, global managing director of services and social media for Avaya, makes it easy for CEOs still on the fence about a social media strategy: successfully managing conversations about your business on social networks is “like having 100’s of ads out there for your brand, all relevant and in context;” business opportunities could await in those conversations, and you create evangelists for your company if you do all of this right.