How Sapient Nitro can turn a social media disaster into an opportunity

It’s easy to bash Sapient Nitro for its social media faux pas yesterday. After all, they basically wrote the playbook on what not to do in digital and social media. Nevertheless I’ll shed a bit of a positive light, go out on a limb (to the very edge in fact) and declare that this is an opportunity for Sapient Nitro to create a really good social media case study and learning guide.

Want to convince clients not to over-react? Who is in a better position to offer such advice than someone who made the mistake and lived to regret it.  Want to forcefully counsel clients not to delete those nasty Facebook posts?  Guess who now knows about that. Want to get paid by clients to develop a crisis management playbook that can be followed when problems erupt? The team that didn’t have one yesterday today understands how essential it can be. Especially for global brands with multiple content creators. (Note: read Atul Gawande’s The Checklist Manifesto and you realize exactly how important it is to have instructions worth following when the situation gets so stressful that it’s hard to think clearly.)

If you want to use this as a social media case study, check out this sequence of events on Storify. It includes links to video, articles and tweets, along with my two cents. 

If I were Sapient Nitro I’d take comfort in a few things. One, this too shall pass. It might seem omnipresent yesterday and today, but a week from now no one will really remember. United Guitar, Nestle’s and even Dominos all endured days of misery when they screwed up. But search Dominos social media on Google today and you get a story about re-invention.

Two, this story played out primarily on Twitter, a few blogs and AdWeek.  At least so far. It didn’t really make the mainstream press and most clients don’t pay as much attention to the same blogs as ad industry types do.

And three, admitting mistakes and laughing about them, presuming you don’t repeat them, is something everyone can relate to. (We’ve all done something stupid.)

True some clients may prefer their agencies to know enough not to make such mistakes. But with a little bit of “positioning” Sapient Nitro ought to be able to turn this into a useful case study that talks about the eight mistakes not to make in social media.

  1. Don’t post the wrong kind of content
  2. Remember the web isn’t local, it’s global
  3. Engage proactively at the right time
  4. Don’t try and control the community or delete their comments
  5. If you do, archive everything
  6. Have a crisis management plan in place and follow it
  7. Try not to get defensive
  8. Accept the blame, apologize, and move on

If you want the beginning of a case study, check out the Storify post.

 

8 comments
Charlotte74
Charlotte74

Spot on about accepting the blame, apologising and moving on. Also I couldn't agree more about not trying to censor the community. Social media is about engaging, accidents can happen, just know what to do when they do crop up.

JeffShattuck
JeffShattuck

Is Sapient Nitro the former Sapient of the Scient/Viant/Saient crew? I remember going to a meeting at Scient (I think, but it could have been one of the other two); we were going to do something BIG but all I remember from that meeting was how full of themselves all the people were and how they all looked airbrushed in person. Truly creepy. But I'll give SN the benefit of the doubt and assume that this video was made without a lot of input from SN, just SNL. Sorry, if I sound mean spirited it's because my brief exposure to Sapient/Scient/Viant was so profoundly negative. And a little disturbing.

perezable
perezable

Love your assessment. Our story is slightly more intricate than 8 sensible decisions, and we will share our learnings.

Meanwhile, I would add the following rule to your list: "Don't be a victim of your expertise, enforcing strict process isn't just for clients."

If you fail by this rule (as we did), rules 1 to 5 are basically inapplicable.

Rule #7 - This rule is universal, and should be applied at all times.

Rule #8 – We look forward to dissecting all this chatter data and helping everyone learn together.

papapaul
papapaul

sorry Ed......there is no silver lining or opportunity here at all only damage control, at best

there are suppose to KNOW BETTER as advisers in that specific space...

jmitchem
jmitchem

#8 is particularly important. All the time.

edwardboches
edwardboches moderator

@perezable Thank you for that. And kudos also for the courage to engage and offer to turn this into a learning experience. Makes it a positive.

edwardboches
edwardboches moderator

@papapaul You are absolutely right. Then again, we are judging a company based on the screw ups of a few individuals. So my guess is that after the damage dissipates, they'll figure out how to make it a positive. That's what I would do.

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