A Rip Off Case Study

This post is a case-study of a recent happening in Social Media.
Before we go into this post’s subject let me disclose two things. I know @benkepes personally and had the privilege of having lunch with him when he visited Chennai during one of his trips. He likes India and has many friends and hence I completely agree with the following two tweets

Second thing, I have nothing to do with @freshdesk and heard their name for the first time when I read the story posted on the net. So this post is neutral and just to show how Social Media plays out when we replace traditional conversations over social media tools. But this is a good Social Media case to learn from.

The ingredients of the case involved someone who became slightly overconfident when he made what may or may not be a off-the-cuff-comment that appeared to accuse one of the party involved, the hijacking of meanings and interpretations around his tweet by others and how the company who was accused used social media not only to hit back and answer that criticism but turned it as a good PR to grab attention.

Now you can read the whole story published here.
Social Media plays out dangerously when you are overconfident and this is a real case of it.
It was a clever move by freshdesk to publish this whole thing and getting in to the radar of people and maximizing profits from this unpleasant event. But certain things in their move also could backfire with many. For example, freshdesk whipping up the racism part and playing their cards can also backfire. This is because that comment is not Ben’s making but someone else’s who just used Ben’s tweet to share his own and added fuel to the fire.

In traditional world, this would not have been even heard. Welcome to Social Media. Social Media allows you to maximise benefits if you play your hand in the right proportion with the right mix at the right time.

Social media is about people talking to people. The use of Social Media changes the rules of the game in a big way. Traditionally, the conversations used to be private whereas Social Media tends to make these conversations public. So overconfidence can backfire. Making a non-issue to your advantage can also backfire.

The fact that freshdesk monitored the tweet is an example of what I shared in my whitepaper

Today, customers are empowered by Social Media. They will talk about products and services all the time and on distributed networks. Organizations might feel that they are transitioning from complete control of their brand to zero control. However, it doesn’t mean that Social Media is bad for businesses. Even if businesses ignore Social Media, their customers are going to talk about them and a tactic that sees businesses ignore these conversations has the potential to be greatly damaging.

Businesses should convert criticism into an opportunity to reach out to disgruntled customers and convert them into loyal ones. A bad move by a brand in Social Media gets amplified many times, eventually turning into a full scale PR nightmare. To avoid such nightmares, it is important for organizations to devise a smart social media strategy that includes proper policies, training, follow up procedures, etc..

Though this incident is between an analyst and a company, view it in terms of a Brand and its customers.

What do you think? What else can we learn from this? Feel free to share.

Originally posted on http://blog.varadh.com
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