What should a company do when its product is attacked on social media? If the company responds, will it merely be highlighting the negativity of the initial attack? If the company does not respond, will be seen as admitting that the attacker is correct? An incident involving Dippin’ Dots, the space-age ice cream treat, is illustrative.
In a recent Forbes article, a representative of The Marketing Zen Group, which represents Dippin’ Dots, told the story. Over the years, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer has posted negative comments about Dippin’ Dots on social media. Recently, some of those tweets heated up again online. The company responded with a letter directly from Scott Fischer, the company’s CEO, to Mr. Spicer, which was display on the official Dippin’ Dots website. Within 24 hours, a number of articles had appeared on major news outlets like the Washington Post, resulting in positive media coverage.
Dippin’ Dots managed to turn a negative social media event into a positive one by responding publicly and at a high level. When the White House Press Secretary criticizes your brand, the response should probably come from your CEO, rather than a rank-and-file customer service representative. In other words, the response should be proportionate to the attack. Obviously, not every detractor on Twitter gets a letter from the Dippin’ Dots CEO. Sometimes, however, that sort of high-level response is justified.
It can be exhausting for a company to respond to social media attacks, but, if it is done well, it can also be rewarding. The mistake that some companies make is not engaging. People online are telling your company’s story. Why not take control of the narrative and tell the story you want to tell? That is what Dippin’ Dots did in this situation.
Another lesson is that a social media attack can be an opportunity. A critic’s negative remarks can raise an issue, but the company’s response shows consumers where the company stands.
Fortunately, most companies are not attacked by White House officials on a regular basis, but virtually every major brand faces negativity on-line. How should you respond to such attacks? The Dippin’ Dots incident shows that it is possible to respond in a constructive way and win the battle against detractors.