If there is a crisis now in the world, everyone hears around it within minutes because of social media. In some cases, this is a good thing and, in some cases, not so much. Because social media news spreads like wildfire, companies are not fast enough to stop the situation before it jeopardizes their brand. As a social media marketer, myself, our team always has a plan in place for if some type of bad media publicity would break out on social media about our company. When I was putting together this plan of how our team should react, I began to search different social media crisis’ that took place and how the companies handled them.
Nike is a great example of how to react to a social media crisis. In February of 2019, Zion Williamson, a basketball player for Duke University, was just almost 2 minutes into the game when his shoe split right off his foot causing a knee injury. It was very clear that the Nike shoe on his foot did not do that job. Seconds after the injury, people began bashing Nike on social media. The day after the game Nike’s stock dropped 1.8%. But Nike quickly reacted. They sent a team out to the manufacturing plan to change some things about the shoe. Nike had sent Zion custom shoes for his return, and he said they were “incredible”. Not soon after, Nike and Zion Williamson teamed up to create his own shoe line. In the end, this did have a small cost on Nike, but they ended up benefiting in the long run and reacted to the situation appropriately.
Chipotle is one of my favorite places to eat, now. But about 5 years ago, not so much. This is an example of how to handle a crisis in some good and bad ways. In 2015, an E. Coli contamination broke out at Chipotle’s in 11 states and placing 22 people in the hospital. Chipotle brands itself on serving “healthy food” but that reputation was crushed after this incident. Their profits dropped 44% by 2018 due to the scandal. Chipotle reacted to this issue by launching “an enhanced food safety program, which included DNA-testing ingredients before they’re shipped to restaurants, changes to food prep and handling practices, and offering sick leave to disincentivize sick employees from working.” It took awhile for Chipotle to gain back the trust of customers and overtime they have bounced back but not as quickly as they would have liked to.
You never know when a crisis could happen and that is why you should always have a plan in place. You can’t keep up with social media, but you can put a fast stop to a crisis when it does happen.