The Perfect Response to Social Media Crisis
The DiGiorno pizza brand was recently applauded by industry media for the way its team handled the aftermath of its #WhyIStayed social media screw up. Less remarked upon was the official apology issued by the parent brand, Nestle USA.
The community manager responded on Twitter to each and every person who complained or commented. Judging by positive responses on Twitter, this approach undid a lot of the damage. Then Nestle USA effectively closed the issue by weighing in as well with this message, which was then distributed by all the media weighing in on the fracas:
This tweet was a mistake, quickly realized as such and deleted seconds later.
Our community manager - and the entire DiGiorno team - is truly sorry. The tweet does not reflect our values and we've been personally responding to everyone who has engaged with us on social media.
Weighing in at the brand level, not just in tweets, was the right thing to do. While Nestle's response isn't quite perfect, it does embody a few best practices that I'd suggest all brands consider when making an official response.
1. Respond to the Issue Directly
Don't dance around it. Fans and customers respond much better to the "we blew it" approach than to the "we're sorry if you felt bad" approach. It's OK to explain what happened, but only after clearly acknowledging what went wrong.
2. Be Transparent and Forthcoming
Have you ever heard children try to explain why they misbehaved? That's how many brands sound to customers when they try to explain why they screwed up. Unless there are critical facts in error, don't start with the explanation, just apologize. Nestle's statement started with the explanation, it's true—but to its credit, the brand didn't ignore the issue, and dozens of apologies had already been made on Twitter. Own it, take responsibility, and take the appropriate next step.