Crisis Communication Wins and Fails | Page 2-10 | Viral In Nature Social Media Agency

Everyone has an opinion-and when a customer is hidden behind the safety of a screen, mud can fly. No matter how hard you try to please everyone, it just won’t happen. There is, however, a simple way to identify the type of complainer you have, and an easy, clear way to deal with them. has created an infographic entitled “How to Deal with Social Media Complainers”, giving you an outline for the five types of social media complainers and how to appease them. Let’s take a look! The first type of customer in this infographic is the meek customer. This customer may have just been pushed over the edge after a hard day at work, or had a sour run-in with a customer service rep. This customer just needs to be heard, and a simple “I’m sorry” will usually patch things up. The aggressive customer is a doozy. This customer is just generally unhappy, and uses your social media accounts as their personal venting space. How do you deal with this? By taking it to a personal level through direct messaging. Agree that the problem exists, and detail how you will fix it. There are three other types of customers outlined in this infographic, such as the high-roller customer, opportunist customer, and the chronic complainer. Each customer type has a clear modus operandi, a chart that details how easy this type of customer is to appease, and clear directions on how to deal with them. Feel free to comment, like, and share this infographic from entitled “How to Deal with Social Media Complainers”.

How to deal with social media complainers

Viral In Nature Inc. is an award winning Social Media Management and Crisis Communication firm located in Calgary, Alberta. We offer award winning social media management, consulting and training. We are also highly experienced in Crisis Communication.

CN Railway, who was recently in a level V crisis communication, has had their Facebook page hacked as this post appeared a little past noon on Saturday, October 26.


October 26, 2013 1:30 pm UPDATE:
It appears that CN Rail is the victim of a larger issue of Buffer App being hacked. This means there could have potential been spam posts across thousands of Facebook pages.
Post by Buffer.
Post by Buffer.

October 26, 2013 9:00pm UPDATE:
Post by Buffer.
Post by Buffer.
Post by Buffer.
BufferApp Crisis Communication done right
BufferApp Crisis Communication
Post-Mortem: BufferApp did an amazing job in crisis communication. What would normally have been a complete disaster for most businesses was just the opposite for BufferApp. Because they admitted fault right away, showed transparency and got a handle on the situation as soon as it had begun, they turned it around and may have even gained a few more customers. One of the best handling of a crisis situation to date by any business. Keep up the great work Buffer!
Reminds me of the famous quote from Donald Keough when asked by a reporter about the 1980's Coca Cola situation where when sales were slumping they launched new Coke and there was huge public outrage, so much so that it forced them to bring back Coke Classic and their sales hit an all-time high. His answer to the reporter was

"We're not that dumb and we're not that smart"

When British Airways lost the luggage of @HVSVN's Dad he called their customer service line. When they weren't much help in finding his luggage, he decided to take to Social Media by purchasing promoted tweets. Promoted tweets are used by businesses to gain exposure but I believe this is the first time they have been used in this way. He purchased the ads to geo target British Airways customers in the UK and New York markets. It took British Airways 8 hours to respond and when they did their excuse was they only monitor their Twitter from 9-5 Monday to Friday. This was picked up by several news outlets including Mashable, CNN, BBC, the Guardian and many more. Here's how it all played out:

What British Airways did right:

  • In the end, the customer got what he wanted. Unfortunately the damage was done but he was satisfied with their response.

What British Airways did wrong:

  • They only check their tweets from 9-5 Monday to Friday.
  • 8 hour response time.
  • Their response "We can't DM you as you aren't following us. If you'd like assistance we will need your baggage reference." without checking is extremely insincere and only escalates the problem.

They only monitor their tweets from 9-5 Monday to Friday...Are you kidding me? Even an overworked small business owner can do better than that but they are a multi-million dollar business that runs 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. I hope this is a wake up call for British Airways. When @HVSVN first tweeted it was only a Stage III Social Media Crisis and if caught within the first 15 minutes it could have been completely avoided. But the moment the first promoted tweet appeared it was a Stage V Social Media Crisis. Eight hours is a lifetime during a Social Media crisis and if responded to in a timely manner they could have avoided all the negative press. The other big problem they had was when their Social Media Specialist tweeted back saying we can't DM you because you're not following, when in fact he was. I've seen this before like this example and it can be incredibly annoying only escalating the situation. The Airline industry as a whole actually does a great job of social media so let's hope BA takes some lessons from its competitor KLM who does do 24 hour monitoring.



Viral In Nature Inc. is an award winning Social Media Management and Crisis Communication firm located in Calgary, Alberta. We offer award winning social media management, consulting and training. We are also highly experienced in Crisis Communication.

Ontario Ombudson Andre Marin alleges a Durham Police Officer is the source of malicious tweets accusing him of being a “Card carrying member of al-Qaida” and suggested he's a terrorist.

Marin identified the hostile tweeter as a Durham Regional Police detective-constable. He also exposed the constable's Twitter bio which reads his only goal in life is to "expose Andre Marin for the leach on society he is."

OK so there are two different parties who are having a Social Media Crisis Communication.

Ombudsman Andre Marin

@JoeyMayo12 comments would classify him as a troll. With a troll you would Monitor Only, Avoid responding to specific posts, monitor tweets for relevant information and comments. Notify HQ. This would be the appropriate response according to the Web response posting guide created by the US Airforce. However, this may be the first exception I can see to this rule. An Ombudsman's role is to fight for its citizens and that is exactly what he is doing. This gives him the image of I'm not gonna stand for any bull from the Police. This has been picked up by major news agencies and is trending on Twitter. Hard to believe there's all this fuss over a couple of tweets from a troll. But Marin is now more than ever looking like a hero to the people. Well done Andre.

Durham Regional Police

What they did right:

  • Their initial tweet saying "4h We are investigating the disturbing allegations made by the Ombudsman regarding a DRPS officer.  & " is absolutely the right tweet. This will stem the tide of "Did you know?" tweets coming in. 
  • Having the initial tweet by D/Chief Paul Martin and then retweeted by @DRPS is also the right thing to do because it says that we are investigating this from the top.

What they did wrong:

  • Their second tweet "4h Should the Ombudsman have any information beyond what was in the tweets we would be happy to hear from him.  & " just reaks of insincerity. Aren't you the Police? Shouldn't you be the one trying to get a hold of him, not simply waiting for his phone call? It should be something like we'd like to get in contact with you to proceed further in the investigation.

As of writing this we are only 5 hours into this crisis so we'll have to watch and see how it plays out. On a side note, I think most of the spectators in this are enjoying the openness in government...even if it is negative.

So this case study is a bit different from my past reviews because it doesn't include a social media crisis, but instead this is a case study about some great social media. I discovered about six months ago when I was thinking of going on a road trip. Starting with their website, they have lots of cool places, many of which are lesser known to an out of town tourist. Some of these spots include abandoned or haunted buildings, or some of the locals favourite water holes. You can map out your route and save the tourist attractions into one of your saved lists. Plus there's a whole lot more cool features on their website. OK so now for their social media,


As of the time of writing this on 2013/08/07, they have 1,963,415 likes; 173,458 talking about this.

I would have to say they must have the highest click-through rate of any other Facebook page I visit because every time they are in my newsfeed I am intrigued. They don't post about visiting the space needle in Seattle, they post stuff like this abandoned Disney waterpark or abandoned ship wrecks. Their talking about percentage is also really high for such a large page.



47 Boards; 4,870 Pins; 1,513 Likes; 5,474 Followers; 911 Following

They do this well. They are very active with loads of pins all leading back to their website.




Not hugely active but appropriate for the amount of traffic on G+.



9,012 Tweets; 3,424 Following; 8,360 Followers

Very active but mostly pushing messages out and only a few replies. However, their tweets are engaging with loads of RT's and Favourites and their Klout score of 80 proves that.















They are missing three big social medias. Foursquare, being a location based social media, might be an exciting one for them to be a part of. I'd also suggest they get a YouTube channel and create some video. Instagram is a must for them to be a part of. They have a fantastic website but one thing it is lacking is user generated content. When I see a location I'd like to visit I wish they had more photos to show. What I would do is take advantage of Instagram hashtags for each location and encourage their followers to use them. This would give them fresh up to date photos of those locations and expand their influence. But despite these suggestions, for the fun, fascinating and intriguing content they post on their Social Media, Road Trippers is one of my favourite brands on Social Media. Two giant thumbs up!

This was not only one of the biggest man-made disasters, it’s also one of the biggest Social Media disasters that still plagues them today. The Deepwater Horizon drilling rig exploded off the Louisiana coast in the Gulf of Mexico on April 20th 2011. It took 4 days for any kind of official communication from BP and the message was very practical estimating the leak equated to 1000 barrels a day. Despite having an active Twitter account it took a further 3 days for any communication on this medium with a simple statement linking to a press release. BP’s CEO told Reuters 10 days later, in his first communication that “This was not our accident”. By May 1st, BP had set up a Gulf of Mexico response page with official updates on the relief effort and contact numbers. Meanwhile, the NY Times created an Oil Spill Tracker to view predictions and actual spread, providing the information the public demanded. BP’s lack of communication created a gap for others like NY Times to speak for them. On May 16th @BPGlobalPR, a parody Twitter account opened with the tweet: “We regretfully admit that something has happened of the Gulf Coast. More to come.” This account has built 140,000 followers and you can expect that number to grow if there’s another BP incident. BP’s lack of control led to further mockery: a Boycott BP Facebook page with over 750,000 fans which is much more than the official BP Facebook page. A ‘black oil’ plugin for the internet browser Mozilla was launched, which when enabled covered all mentions of BP on the web in a virtual black oil.

What they did wrong:
This is a prime example of crisis paralysis. BP did not have a crisis communication strategy in place and this is what happens when big companies are unprepared. Heck, this is what happens when small businesses are unprepared. They end up doing the Ostrich approach with their head in the sand.

What they did right:

By not communicating, this left it wide open for others to tell their story like the NY Times and a parody twitter account that is still active today, and pretty funny too! All Oil and Gas companies should prepare for a crisis today.

Amy’s Baking Company in Scottsdale had a Social Media meltdown of epic proportions. The restaurant was featured on Chef Gordon Ramsay’s popular TV show Kitchen Nightmares. For the first time in the history of Kitchen Nightmares, Chef Ramsay walked out on the restauranteurs, Amy and Samy Bouzaglo, because he thought they were just too difficult to work with and beyond help. 
Shocked viewers took to Reddit and Yelp to shame the company, which is when the situation escalated into a full-blown PR disaster.
In the episode that aired on May 10, Bouzaglo said the criticism the restaurant had gotten from online reviewers from Yelp and Reddit was all lies. Ramsey accused Amy Bouzaglo of being delusional and beyond his help.
“It is very sad to see such potential be thrown away by stubbornness, ignorance, and just plain rudeness,” wrote one Yelp user. “You had a world-renowned chef in your establishment to HELP you, instead of showing gratitude, you treated him like dirt [sic].”

“Awful restaurant and awful people. Look at how they harass old yelp reviewers and call everyone liars,” wrote another user.
The Bouzaglos responded by attacking those comments with insulting responses to almost everyone who criticized their business.

The Bouzaglos later posted an update saying that they were hacked on multiple accounts and claiming that they did not post the angry responses to customers.

What they did wrong:

Arguing and insulting your followers is always a recipe for disaster.

What they did right:

Despite all the wrong reasons, they did manage to get over 100,000 followers organically on their Facebook page in a very short amount of time.


Samy and Amy appear to be complete lunatics. So much so that not even Chef Gordon Ramsay could work with them. They have damaged their reputation beyond all possible repair...or have they? Did you know that was also the most viewed episode of Kitchen Nightmares? People didn’t watch that episode for cooking tips, they came for the entertainment value of a train wreck. In this case, I would throw all conventional logic out the window. Amy and Samy should continue doing exactly what they are doing. They should continue berating their customers online and offline. They have now changed their business model from being a restaurant to now being dinner theatre. If they did that I would actually put this in the win category, but until then this case study belongs in the epic social media fail category.

Do you have a company Social Media policy? You should to help prevent disasters. Your employees are company spokespersons and are shaping your brand when they post online. Specific guidelines need to be set on what is acceptable online behavior and what is not. The US Airforce knows this and they have set this code of conduct for their servicemen

FedEx is the latest company to go into crisis communication mode. This video was posted on July 24, 2013 showing two employees carelessly throwing packages into the back of their badly disorganized company van.

The video aired on Good Morning America on July 26, 2013 and immediately went viral. The first post of the video appears on their Facebook page on July 26, 2013 at 4am Atlantic time. FedEx responded with this video at 3pm Atlantic time.

What they did wrong:

  • If they had sophisticated monitoring tools in place it would have alerted them to the situation on July 24 when the video was first posted. They could have then immediately contacted the videographer when it only had a handful of views and come to a mutually agreeable conclusion to take down the video and discipline/terminate the employee. Note: A C&D letter from your lawyer is not a mutually agreeable conclusion and would only add fuel to the fire.
  • Their initial response on Facebook was 11 hours after the first post. The ideal response time is 15 minutes or less from the original post. Your first response should always be something like “Yes, we realize something has happened” even if you have ZERO answers. This will stem the tide of “hey company, did you know?” messages. Remember, time is the enemy during a social media crisis. Even small delays can result in viral spirals. The ostrich approach isn’t an option on social media. The public knows there’s a problem so just own it. Gini Dietrich of Spin Sucks made this point regarding Carnival Cruise Lines’ handling of the Costa Concordia tragic accident.
  • Their responses to the flood of posts were all copy and pastes. This looks really insincere. You can change up your response but still have the same message.

What they did right:

  • When the video was first discovered, there appears to be no crisis paralysis with their Executive team because they were able to create and post a video response within 13 hours.
  • Although their response was a little delayed and their response was a copy and paste to all posts, they did respond to all posts.
  • In their video they were transparent. There are conflicting views on whether you should say “sorry” online. However if a wrong has been done, then it is appropriate to acknowledge the hurt and properly state that you are attempting all remedies. Admitting when you have done a wrong is important. Don’t suggest or imply anything that is illegal and ensure you think ahead to the long term, not short term. Finally, sometimes, you just have to accept you’ve lost control, and move on. Further attempts to manipulate the situation can prolong an issue that would have died a natural death with time.

    Although there is room for improvement, because of their fast moving Executive Team in getting out a speedy response in the form of a video as well as immediately terminating the employee, we are putting this in the Social Media Epic Win category.

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