So if you’re following me on Twitter, you might have caught the “I need some popcorn while watching this trainwreck” moment. You know the kind, a business fucks up on social media and doesn’t handle it properly, tries to cover their tracks then poop hits the overhead fan.
Grab the Popcorn
In this case, it was Fresh Coast Health Food in Victoria, BC. My Twitter pal, Ryan Rutley (@growlocalyyj) notified me of the upcoming disaster.
— Grow Local YYJ (@GrowLocalYYJ) September 19, 2017
Let’s take a look at the original post Ryan was talking about. The creator of the content, Josh, the owner of Fresh Coast Health Food, deleted it but the internet is always watching. It only took me a moment to find the post… On their Facebook Page reviews. For the purpose of sharing this, I have blurred out the face in the photo.
Facebook Fans Get Mad
It’s easy to see how quickly the backlash spread, from Instagram to Facebook. There were already plenty of negative reviews on the Fresh Coast Health Food Facebook Page. See below for just a small sampling of the reviews that poured in.
In just under 12 hours, the Facebook Page had 100+ negative reviews. I’d tell you to go read them all yourself, but you can’t.
Yes, they deleted their Facebook Page. Instead of dealing with the negative comments and reviews, it looks like they decided to bury them and hope for the best.
A Video Apology on Instagram
Josh, the owner, eventually posted a video apology. Watch below, BUT, keep in mind that he then DELETED his apology video. In an interview with Victoria Buzz, “he said he took it down as he’d rather apologize through conversations with media.”
So he’d rather apologize via the media than apologize on social media directly to the people who he upset with his post? The internet didn’t like that.
Instagram Gets Mad… Again
It’s no surprise that people were pissed. Here are some screen caps of the angry messages from Instagram. This is a small sampling of the comments I found. If you want to read them all check out the Fresh Coast Health Food Instagram account.
AND it the shaming post wasn’t only affecting and upsetting individuals, but also retailers of Fresh Coast Health Food distributors.
Meanwhile… 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻 pic.twitter.com/PO9RNW5Kci
— Grow Local YYJ (@GrowLocalYYJ) September 19, 2017
Handling a Social Media Fail
Cringe! I know what you’re thinking, I would *hate* to be the owner right now. Granted he didn’t handle the situation in the best way, he shouldn’t have deleted the Facebook Page and he shouldn’t have deleted his original apology video, BUT he did apologize and shouldn’t that be enough? No. This might just be 15 minutes of terrible fame for Fresh Coast Health Food, the internet will stop talking about it eventually and will move on to the next fail, but the internet will never forget.
Deleting the Facebook Page showed that not only did he not want to handle the negative criticism, but that he also didn’t want to deal with it anymore. IRL, if you make a mistake, the only way to make things better is to own up to your shit and give a heartfelt and legit apology and find a way to make it better… Or pay a PR professional to guide you through the process. Instead, the owner decided to take things into his own hands and handled things pretty terribly.
Not only has this affected customers, but also retailers and distributors. These are difficult relationships to re-build.
Learnings From “Mistakes” on Social Media
The positive part is we can learn from this situation. Look, I understand everyone makes mistakes, but how can we, as marketers, prevent these same ones being repeated in the future?
- Handle things ASAP, but think before you post. Take a moment, breathe, the last thing you want to do is act out of haste and dig the hole deeper.
- Consult with a professional if you don’t know what to do next. Seriously, call Olivia Pope if you need to.
- You can delete things off social media channels, but you can’t delete screenshots off other people’s computers. Always act as if what you’re publishing or sharing is permanent (I’m not talking spelling errors). As we learned, there were multiple people, including myself, watching the situation play out, screenshotting and following along.
- Own up to the mistake, it might seem like, super embarrassing and shitty, but what are you going to do? Lie and say someone else posted the content in question?
- Think before you post. Remember when your parents told you to not talk if don’t have anything nice to say? Ask yourself if this going to offend someone? Will there be backlash if I post this? How will it affect my business or personal brand?
- If you outsource your social media management, make sure you vet who you’re hiring. Nowadays everyone and their mom are social media managers, but asking situational questions, asking to see work samples, etc. is vital.
Putting the Popcorn Down
The owner told CTV News:
“I believe it will affect my business and not just financially, but me personally because I represent the brand,” he said. “I have to deal with the consequences if it’s financial, if it’s personal. But I guess there’s a lesson to be learned here and I have to answer the questions.”
What will happen next? What will he do to earn his customers and distributors back? Is this the end of Fresh Coast Health Food? Only time will tell!
Dun dun dunnnnnnnnnnn… (Suspense music.)
K! But for real, what are your thoughts on the whole situation?