Don’t Let Social Media Give You a Headache

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Originally posted on www.bigthink.com here.

You don’t want to mess with moms, especially twitter moms. They can be a nasty bunch. And yet, that is exactly what the company McNeil Consumer Healthcare (which owns Motrin) did when it launched a snarky ad campaign targeting moms who chose to “wear” their babies (such as in a sling), as opposed to pushing their babies in a stroller.

This incident happened during the early days of social media, but the backlash was swift. A very active population of parenting bloggers called for a Motrin boycott, parodies were placed was on YouTube, and Twitter did what Twitter does best which is to, well, fan the flames some more and then some.

Clearly McNeil Consumer Healthcare (we’ll refer to them as Motrin from here on out) had messed up. But their headache was only beginning. While the online backlash had been going viral for an entire weekend, no one at Motrin noticed until Monday morning. Not only did they have to scramble to fix the problem, they had failed to engage their customers at the most crucial moment.

Maddie Grant, co-founder of the social media consulting firm Socialfish and co-author of the book Humanize: How People-Centric Organizations Succeed in a Social World, points out that these days “every single company has some kind of consumer base that is talking about them online. And it’s very, very important to have a presence in these social spaces where you can respond to those people where they are.”

In a lesson on Big Think Edge, the only forum on YouTube designed to help you get the skills you need to be successful in a rapidly changing world, Grant says that businesses that haven’t changed according to the times better adapt quickly because consumers expect that businesses today are personal, transparent and accessible.

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Jay Skowron is the Founder & Principal at Hospitality Defender LLC, dedicated to helping restaurants, hotels, and other businesses in the hospitality industry improve and maintain their online review ratings.

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