How B2B Brands Respond to Facebook Attacks

As B2B companies create Facebook Pages, in addition to creating a content strategy and an engagement strategy, which are processes for what to post and how to engage with comments, they need to develop a process for dealing with a crisis. The SXSW Interactive Session, How Brands Respond to Facebook Attacks, addressed this issue with examples and advice from the panelists.

Bryan Person, Social Media Evangelist, Liveworld (@BryanPerson)
Ekaterina Walter, Social Media Strategist, Intel (@Ekaterina)
Laura Thomas, Senior Digital Consultant, Dell (@LPT)
Michael Lazerow, CEO, Buddy Media (@Lazerow)

The session begin with a summary of the Nestle Facebook attack by Greenpeace, which encouraged backers to post negative messages on the Nestle Page using an altered logo in their profile pictures. Nestle did not respond well, but ultimately responded by changing their policy of sourcing palm oil.

Dell on Facebook
Dell has seen an overwhelming amount of negative posts on the Dell Page on Facebook. They organized a team comprised of people from customer service, social media and public relations departments to respond. There have been over 5,000 customers that have posted customer service issues on the Dell Facebook Page, and 98% expressed negative feelings toward the brand. After the customer service issues were resolved, 36% expressed positive comments publicly.

Intel on Facebook
Intel was prepared with a crisis plan and a crisis team, along with a listening tool in place that gave indication that something was coming. The connections between the listening team and the Facebook management team were not clearly defined as part of the process. Technology companies source products from around the world. People started to rally around mining in the Congo. There was a series of similar posts that were repeated on the Page. They appeared to be spam and were deleted as duplicates. More started appearing and the Intel team realized it was a coordinated attacked.

The team got together with customer service, pr, web team and legal department in the room. The team reviewed several options, and based their decision on what was appropriate for the community members. Rather than answering on the Facebook Page, Intel referred people to the Corporate Responsibility blog. They also turned off the ability for fans to post, and posted on the Page that they were doing this. After a three-hour period of answering questions on the blog, they allow fans to post on the Page again. The negative comments re-appeared and Intel continued at act in accordance with their Page rules and the comments died down. The listening team is now in sync with Page manager as a result of event.

Page Management Tips

  • Make sure you have a policy to respond, because inaction can be defined negatively. Put technology tools in place before an attack, so you can be alerted on your cell phone.
  • If you start a Facebook Page, make sure you allow fans to post, but make sure you are prepared.
  • Watch for patterns on the Page. An intern cannot properly manage a Page. A good manager know the fans, how active they are and what kinds of things they post.
  • Provide a commenting policy on the Page, but it does not need to be legalese. Setting these ground rules allows you to manage a Page according to these rules. You can even post that you can have deleted a comment due to profanity.
  • Comply with Facebook terms and conditions and add your own house rules. Intel’s Facebook House Rules are described as the good, the bad, but not the ugly. They keep positive and negative comments, but remove things that violate the rules.
  • Because of what is exposed through Facebook, a company is going to come down, just like governments. Consider running a real firedrill on an unpublished page where only admins can see the Page.
  • If you have to actively rally your fans to respond to posts on the wall, they probably won’t. The best fans will respond on their own.
  • An attack on a Page can influence how often Page shows up in newsfeed. With the changes to the algorithm, extra activity increases the popularity of a Page. It also brings lurkers out to post.

Are there other tips that you can share if you have handled an attack or highly negative comments on your company’s Facebook Page?

Why your B2B CEO should be using YouTube

Google “CEOs and YouTube” and almost every result will center around some type of crisis. From Domino’s and KFC to Mattel and Motrin, most companies take a reactive approach to incorporating their CEOs onto their YouTube channels. Accordingly, most receive flak for the unnatural, delayed and – in some cases – unapologetic approaches to each situation.

While every organization must be ready to successfully react to crisis situations, any B2B PR pro worth his or her well-worn AP Style Book will agree on the importance of proactive messaging opportunities for the C-level suite. Traditionally, this has been achieved by drafting talking points, pitching CEO bios to trade reporters and securing keynote speaking opportunities in hopes of spreading the word about the B2B company, its products and its key messages.

Increasingly, social media has opened up new outlets for management to monitor and participate in consumer and media relations. CEOs using Twitter have received the most attention when it comes to social media for the C-level set, but what about YouTube?

If your B2B company is utilizing YouTube (and it should be), here are some reasons your CEO should be a regular contributor:

1. Addtional Media Training

While a B2B CEO’s main job isn’t media relations, he or she will come into contact with journalists (and bloggers) as a primary company spokesperson. The key to interacting under pressure with media is practice. However, mock interviews at a biannual media relations refresher held by the PR staff aren’t enough.

By becoming a regular part of the company YouTube channel, B2B CEOs will gain additional exposure to what works and what doesn’t work on camera, and how things like eye contact, nervous ticks and natural speech patterns can distract viewers from key messages. While a company YouTube video will probably be scripted and provide room for retakes and edits, additional face time in front of a camera will help prepare top management for “real” interviews with reporters and ease the canned and stilted feeling that often comes across in executive interviews.

2. Thought Leader

By joining the small ranks of B2B CEOs proactively using YouTube, your CEO will automatically become a thought leader in the social space. Beyond that, a regular YouTube feature can also help to showcase the expertise that carried your CEO to his or her top spot in the first place. Film shorts spots that allow him or her to talk about why your company is using social media; hit on two or three industry news items and have your CEO offer his or her opinions; or touch on new products or services and the value they will bring to customers.

3. Thinking Outside the Suit

For customers, potential customers, media and even internal employees, top management of B2B organizations can often seem elusive, elite and out of touch. A regular video post can go a long way to develop these relationships, especially when you consider that many of these people may never actually lay eyes on these busy men and women.

Consider a monthly Q&A with questions submitted from company stakeholders; a location-specific feature that discusses the different cities and events he or she has traveled to on business; or, depending on the manager’s comfort level, a simple “Catching up with…” spot that lets him or her give a quick update on the company, his or her job and even personal interests.

4. Crisis Credibility

Last week, Jeff wrote a post on the importance of a B2B social media crisis plan, and included a point about executive video responses to the situation. When a crisis does hit, a B2B CEO who has been participating on his or her company’s YouTube channel all along with have more credibility with online stakeholders, as well as more experience in talking with – instead of to – his or her company’s online followers.

How is your B2B company utilizing your top management on your organization’s YouTube channel?