Social Media Crisis Management For All

Crisis management ain’t easy, not by any stretch of the imagination. The thing is all you can do in a crisis, really, is to try and maintain some semblance of order and control while resolving the matter to keep stock prices from plummeting, or worse, from closing shop altogether. Compound that precarious situation with instant haters all over Facebook, Twitter and, soon, Pinterest, and you’ve got yourself a nightmare.

That’s exactly how Honda’s  San Marcos, TX dealership felt, I presume, when they deactivated all social media accounts and decided to plug their fingers in their ears and sing the la-la song while waiting for the outrage to die down.

Now, we don’t want to beat a dead horse but…it all started when Honda refused to honor an eBay sale of a used Nissan GT-R for the winning bid price of $55,100. Their asking price was $59,000. Apparently, nobody was aware the company was worth infinitely (almost) more than losing face for a measly $3,900 difference.

Naturally, after being denied his winning bid, Xou Vang complained to the Better Business Bureau of Texas, USA while ranting off to 50 jillion pals online, to which Honda San Marcos replied with this statement:

Mr. Vang has engaged in slander against Honda of San Marcos and attempted to purposley (sp) and unlawfully disrupt the dealership’s ability to operate. As a result of these documented offenses and on advice from counsel Honda San Marcos will not discuss this matter with the BBB.

The standoff quickly made rounds online. So strong was the public’s sentiment that the Honda dealership finally acquiesced and granted Vang his winning bid. But, of course, not before learning how stupid they were in failing to act immediately on the issue.

Social media is great as friend and worse as the enemy. You’d think Honda corporate would not have allowed something like this to slip through the cracks but it got so out of hand it’s as if the local dealership was arrogantly running their own show. What could they have done differently?

  1. Don’t be a dimwit. A hurt reputation capital is hard to quantify accurately. Suffice it to say that at present, Facebook has 845 million members, 140 million people are on Twitter and Pinterest is a fast growing interest-sharing site that logs 1.36 million users daily. So, the next time you open your mouth or type away, do the math first.
  2. If you’re social, be sociable. I can’t stress the importance of this enough. Having a social media account doesn’t make you sociable. How you manage that account and harness its strength is what makes you sociable. Genuine engagement with your followers is what makes you sociable. So, be polite, be decent, be open.
  3. Act fast, act smart. Pointing fingers at who wronged who will only worsen any situation. Calling in lawyers and threatening lawsuits will only enrage an already unsympathetic public. Resolve the matter quickly, respectfully and as soon as possible take the conversation out of the internet. The next update should be that of a peaceful, amicable resolution between the two parties.

It’s easy to get tripped up and for that trip up to be so public in a world where everyone’s living in a virtual fish bowl. But shying away from social media is not the answer. Whether you have social media presence or not, millions of people do. And just because you’re not listening it doesn’t mean no one’s talking about you.