Humor, Local Business & Social Media

As I’ve mentioned before, witty, timely social media posts can create a winning marketing campaign, like Oreo‘s recent Superbowl campaign. However, when brands start to use social media as testing ground for their latest personal jokes, things can unravel quickly.

Yesterday, a local Springfield business posted a joke on Facebook that turned out to be quite the controversy. The post read: “Yesterday scientists revealed that beer contains small traces of female hormones. To prove their theory, the scientists fed 100 men 12 pints of beer and observed that 100% of them gained weight, talked excessively without making sense, became emotional, and couldn’t drive. No further testing is planned.”

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My initial reaction was, “Ouch, that was not smart,” and I was not alone. At the time this post was written, the post spurred 375 comments and 113 shares. Many of the comments echoed my thoughts that it was not wise to alienate half of their customer base by making a joke that could be interpreted as sexist. Some even praised their local competitors–not good.

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However, Springfield Brewing Company handled this mini social media crisis with grace. They immediately apologized in the comments and later in a follow up post. Overall, the page gained a lot of buzz because of the post and ended up in a local news story.
There are some things to learn from this real life social media crisis that could happen to any local business.
  1. Think about your audience before you post anything. How could this go wrong? Is this joke worth offending potential customers? 
  2. Monitor your fans reactions to a post and respond sincerely and quickly if a post goes arie.
  3. Do NOT delete comments from fans during a controversial discussion unless it is offense. Fans will often point it out and it will fan the flame.
  4. Re-post a sincere apology. Don’t rely on fans seeing a comment in the original post with hundreds of comments.
  5. If you post an apology for a post, delete the original post. Springfield Brew Co did not do this and some fans pointed it out.
  6. Move on with style and don’t take your page too seriously. Springfield Brewing Company followed up with a couple of lighthearted posts today that put the brand in a positive light again.

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What do you think of this local business’s joke? Did they handle the criticism well?


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