Branding is more than just how your business looks—it’s also how customers experience your brand, and the way you interact with your customers. Once, this mostly meant treating your customers well. But thanks to social media, brands now need to adapt to a huge array of situations that were never possible before. Social media branding is a new world that companies have to navigate–some better than others.
Everyone loves a good trainwreck, so let’s look at a major branding “don’t” first.
You may have already seen the meltdown that happened last week on Applebee’s Facebook page. The chain restaurant’s corporate Facebook page was inundated with negative comments after the story broke that they had fired a waitress who had also been abusing social media. The frustrated waitress had used Reddit to post a photo of a receipt on which a customer had crossed out the 18% gratuity for large parties and written a message: “I give God 10%, why do you get 18%?”
After it came out that the waitress who posted the photo had been fired, legions of people started posting on Applebee’s Facebook page. Not only did Applebee’s start deleting comments, they also started responding to comments—which were immediately buried under hundreds of new comments—and began to get erratic and scattered in their posts. Thousands of posts have now been deleted off the page. It’s case study in how not to handle negative comments on social media. What started as a minor issue isolated to one franchise has blown up to become the talk of the Internet. Even worse for Applebee’s is the fact that they actually created a negative experience for their Facebook fans by deleting the negative comments.
This is exactly the kind of social media branding you want to avoid.