curious goat

Image source: lhirlimann

17 Feb

2017

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Image source: lhirlimann

Opinion

Chaos cafe: Don’t make an online ass of yourself when commenters get your social media goat

Posted by on 17 Feb 2017

I’m often asked what ‘good’ social media practice is.

But… can you really have good practice when it comes to marketing your messages virally? Or, simply put, is all practice pretty much the same? You share, you engage, you respect others, that’s the only real way to go about things, right?

Personally, I’ve never challenged this approach; I’ve always thought that it’s incredibly difficult to go wrong when it comes to utilising social media as part of your marketing arsenal, therefore I’ve always considered ‘good’ practice and standard practice to be pretty much one and the same.

It’s 2017 after all. Like it or not, the way you cultivate your tone on the likes of Twitter, Facebook et al stand as the most easily-accessible way in which people, clients or customers formulate an opinion of you and your brand.

So, like I say, I’ve always thought good practice and standard practice go hand in hand, ie good and bad practice don’t really ‘mean’ anything because everyone knows how to behave and everyone acts accordingly, right?

Wrong. Oh how wrong you were Jamie. ‘Bad’ practice (in fact, disgracefully-terrible and abhorrent practice) does exist. And when you see it, you won’t forget it. Allow me to explain.

Early this week I’ve been privy to social media’s dark side, its scary underbelly in fact. Here’s how NOT to market yourself via social media.

You’ve goat to be joking

Goat Cafe - Huddersfield’s only vegan cafe - which opened just over a year ago, was one of Facebook’s top trenders early this week. But why were 87,000 people talking about it first thing on a monday morning?

It seems the cafe owners found themselves embroiled in a war of words with commenters on their Facebook page, an unsavoury situation which escalated quickly, and horribly. 

The situation began with the cafe announcing it planned to go ‘internet free’. See below. 

I’m all for standing by your beliefs. In fact, I respect the owners for having the courage to pronounce such an extreme stance in an already niche market. However, I doubt anybody could respect the chaotic situation which quickly ensued.

Wow, right? Publicly telling off would-be customers is bad PR at its finest. Things, however, escalated a lot further. 

To proceed to tell people not to come to the cafe as well as swearing, again publicly, infront of an almost infinite audience is downright bizarre and repelling. 

Clearly those familiar, ie existing customers, with the cafe felt disfranchised. The situation proceeded to spiral out of control. (Disclaimer: If you do specialise in social media best practice, look away now!) 

The repeated expletives have not only isolated those already familiar with the cafe but the comments have actually been turned into memes, perhaps the easiest and quickest way to spread messages virally today. The worrying thing now for the cafe is this incident can’t be swept under the rug. 

The cafe went on to rile commenters further and used childish emoticons to aggrevate the situation further, rather than diffuse it. I had questioned the legitimacy of the situation, ie had the account been hacked or was this some sort of lurid joke which I wasn’t following, although when the situation spread to other platforms I realised that the posts were in fact authentic. Here we can see things swell to another platform, Google Plus.

Since the incident the cafe still hasn’t issued an apology and it seems the situation remains rich in contempt.

Carry on reading for our Editor’s analysis.

Social Media 101 

Let’s be honest, anyone who specialises in social media marketing or who plies their trade by conducting best practice workshops would be close to cardiac arrest seeing a situation like this unfold! We’re literally talking ‘Exactly how not to market your business using social media’. 

Why such a tirade was unleashed we don’t know but really, the reasons behind the situation don’t actually matter. What matters is the reprecussions the business will now face.

The importance of reputation and perception in business cannot be underestimated - especially if you’re already operating in a niche market! Can you imagine the fallout for Goat Cafe from this?

Social Media has helped us to revolutionise the way in which we connect, discover, and share information. When applied properly, it can be the most valuable tool in your marketing mix.

Many businesses follow the norm, as I alluded to earlier, they share, they engage and fundamentally, they respect those interacting. However, after exploring bad practice examples, I very much believe that good practice really does exist.

If you’re implementing good social media practice in your business, congratulations. It can be a slow game and you’ve got to be patient but if you drift from the realms of good to bad then the results can be cataclysmic. 

Building up your business’ reputation via continued and dedicated social media practice will generate organic results, I guess it’s ironic that Huddersfield’s only vegan cafe failed to see this. 

Why not comment below and share your thoughts? Have you ever witnessed ‘bad’ social media practice? How does it comapre to Goat Cafe? Let us know!

Read more in these areas:

#Yorkshire & The Humber #culture #marketing #social media
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