Avoid Social Media Nightmares With Respect


Gordon_Ramsays_Kitchen_NightmaresHave you heard of Gordon Ramsey’s Kitchen Nightmares?  Or, more specifically, the Amy’s Baking Company episodes (there were two, the first aired in May 2013, and the recent special “part two” which aired in April 2014).

Truth be told, I watch Gordon Ramsey’s shows religiously (he’s my favorite celebrity chef).  As a super fan, I’ve been particularly interested in the Amy’s Baking Company PR and social media fall-out. Working for Metaverse Mod Squad, we are taught to be very aware of brand reputation, particularly how the fine art of social media content, forum moderation, community outreach and development, and customer support correspondence can connect an audience to a business (and vice versa).  We often work as liaisons between active communities and well-known brands, and with this working knowledge, I can’t help but find this Forbes article fascinating: Lessons from Amy’s Baking Company – Six Things You Should Never Do on Social Media (or even better, here’s the humorous Buzzfeed overview).

abc-bistroTo give you a brief run down, Amy’s Baking Company requested help from Gordon Ramsey to turn their restaurant around from a failure to a (hopeful) success.  The show itself was as entertaining as ever, and it was clear that Amy’s Baking Company has some interesting folks — typical fair for the show layout.  What was unique about this particular episode happened in the aftermath of airing, when the owners of Amy’s Baking Company essentially took on a battle with (what feels like) the internet, or more specifically, they:

  • Started fights Redditors (a prominent home of the dreaded internet troll),
  • Cursed at consumers on their Facebook page, and,
  • Fought Yelpers (just to name a few).

It was a real mess.

fd87210e-e8d9-47ff-b15c-44879d5e3063_twitter-amysAfterward starting the fights, Amy’s Baking Company attempted some form of crisis management by deleting posts on their Facebook page and claiming that they had been “hacked” (with little evidence to support it, other than their own claim).  Despite a public apology, any goodwill or positive reputation the company attempted to build over the years was well and truly tarnished (if not a joke, in the Kitchen Nightmares community).

enhanced-20657-1399305334-37Preserving the quality of our clients’ images is so important.  How we interact with people can literally make or break a Brand’s relationship with the customer base, community supporters, and audience.  As the front line (whether it’s customer support, moderation, community, or social media oriented), we’re often placed in a position that requires us to carry the voice and the expectations of the Brand.  Could you imagine the fallout if a professional in our market exploded in an Amy’s Baking Company-esque meltdown with customers on social media?  It’s not enough to delete social media posts that were in poor taste, in fact, that’s quite the taboo for digital citizens.  Recently, there was a large fall-out for Black Milk Clothing, who also took an aggressive approach with their Facebook audience with a post-debacle, and continuously deleted any and all comments that were difficult (as well as berated and insulted the audience).  No matter how many times you apologize for digital missteps – once it’s been said on the internet, it’s out there, and there is no guarantee you will ever be able to take it back.

This is part of why it’s so important to understand the specific client’s needs and goals, build tone expectations for the audience, and have crisis management plans in place.  To us, participating with our clients’ brand is our sacred trust.

Treating customers with respect, showing them you’re listening to what they’re saying, and working – every moment of every shift – to accurately and positively represent our clients is what it’s all about. Work towards those goals (and not in the method used Amy’s Baking Company), and you’ll be doing it right!

Ashe Wilson