How to handle a shitstorm – before, during and after

 

With brands increasing their presence on social media regular crisis are to be expected. Lately ‘shitstorm’ has become a term often used, whenever a brand ends up in an online crisis that turns into an online attack, because of the social media’s ability to spread rapidly to unlimited amounts of users.

The key to get properly through a shitstorm is to be prepared and to acknowledge the problem. Here’s how your company should act before, during and after a social shitstorm.

 

Before the storm:

Listen and prepare. In the first place you need to make sure, that you are up-to-date with your social channels. If you haven’t outsourced your social media to a management company, you should have a listening strategy, determining which employee is responsible and when. You should not think of the crisis as a possibility, but a certainty.

During the storm:

Always respond as fast as possible. The users are seeking a dialogue when they are criticizing or questioning something on your profile. If you don’t respond – other users will, and you don’t want others to fill out eventual information gaps with subjective conceptions.

Be consistent in your answers. Your employees should know exactly how to answer the questions or accusations, and they should do it the same way. Furthermore you must gather all relevant information on the case in order to be able to answer accurately.

The most important thing: never be silent. If you don’t engage in the dialogue it will seem as if you are ignoring the problem. In this case – no news are bad news.

After the storm:

Once you have lived through and survived the crisis you should restore the complete process. Document all status updates and comments. Analyse how the crisis broke out and more importantly – how it spread. What role did your employees play during the crisis and were they well informed? Evaluate the process and integrate what you have learned in a crisis communication plan for future hazards.

Wanna learn more?

We have already written more in depth on how to prevent a crisis and how to respond to it

If you want to be an expert on social media crisis take a look at the book “The Four Stages of Highly Effective Crisis Management” written by Jane Jordan-Meier. In here Mindjumpers provided a case story from a Danish shitstorm that hit the government-run tourist agency VisitDenmark in 2009 because of the viral video Danish Mother Seeking. This case illustrates both the fatal consequences of users reacting strongly to the ethical attitude of a brand and a creative campaign that simply went wrong.

 

 

Why Oreo’s ‘Daily Twist’ is one of our all-time favorite social media campaigns

Few cookies have reached the same level of iconicity as Kraft Foods’ Oreo. Its round shape, blackish color and white cream stuffing have undeniably added to its success but as a social media agency we wonder: where would the crowd-pleasing, twistable cookie be today without effective social media marketing?

Let’s zoom in on one of their global digital and social media campaigns that reached millions of hearts (and mouths) and delivered proof that even cookies can provide endless food for thought. We are talking about the wildly successful ‘Daily Twist’ campaign that saw a 110% growth in fan interaction per social-media post only a few months after the campaign was launched. Even though the campaign dates back to 2012, in our view, it earned a spot among the best food branding campaigns on social media ever. Here’s why…

It used milestones and pop culture events to create engagement

2012 was the year that America’s favorite cookie turned 100. Needless to say, it was a cause for celebration.

Every day for 100 days, the Oreo was given a different “twist” – styled to look like Elvis, a panda bear or like the surface of Mars after the Mars Rover had driven over it. On the ‘Daily Twist’ site, users could suggest their “twist”. The campaign was driven on Facebook and also featured on Twitter, Tumblr and Pinterest.

The Oreo twists were especially created to spark conversation and sharing, referring to milestones or pop culture events that people could relate to and share their thoughts about.

It had timely and shareable content combined with an element of surprise

While some of the cookie designs were planned ahead like the Olympics or Labor Day, others were more agile, tapping into events like the premiere of ‘Batman: The Dark Knight Rises’, the release of the iPhone5 and the birth of a Chinese panda bear. Monitoring trending topics and utilizing current events ensured the content was always relevant and timely. Couple that with the surprise of what each day would bring, and you’ve got a campaign worth tuning into.

They exercized strong brand values

The campaign kicked-off with the Gay Pride rainbow cookie in recognition of the LGBT community, much to the chagrin of conservative crowds.

The Facebook post set off a heated online debate that even led opponents of gay marriage to call for an Oreo boycott. But while supporters and opponents were fighting their online battle, the rainbow cookie doubled Oreo’s fan growth.

By having a strong stance and sticking to it, Oreo established itself as a courageous brand amongst its more liberal fans.

The campaign had an integrated marketing approach, combining the offline and online worlds

The campaign finale took place at Times Square in New York. They set up a pop up agency there, from which they designed the last ‘Daily Twist’, based on suggestions from fans. Earlier that morning, the brand had asked its Twitter followers and Facebook fans to offer ideas, which were going up live on a billboard. Creatives would select the best ones and three of them were then put to an online vote. The winning cookie, celebrating the anniversary of the first high five, was designed on the spot and was displayed on a big billboard.

A seamless flow between the online and offline worlds, and the mix of social and traditional marketing allowed for a greater experience and showed that Oreo mastered the integrated marketing approach.

It put the product in the center – without being self-centered

Oreo’s ability to put their product at the center of the campaign and still make the content relatable and entertaining for a massive range of users is (in our opinion) the most important factor in the success of the ‘Daily Twist’ campaign. The content was heavily branded, yet still relevant, timely and shareable – without ever begging for likes, comments and shares.

Lessons learned

The ‘Daily Twist’ campaign set an example of how important it is to create content that resonates with your audience. There are many ways to find out what moves your fans. For Lurpak®, we identified what kind of recipes the audience was searching for. As a result, we created content that we already knew people wanted to engage with. Read how we did it here.