Why are our Community Managers involved in every step of the content development process? Why do they participate in brainstorming campaign ideas and check in daily with insights and information about their brands? Why are they required to use data to back up their feelings and not rely solely on instincts? Because we never want our clients to get into situations like this:
Lesson #1: When you ask someone what they think, they’re going to tell you.
The comments on the picture started rolling in immediately and the bulk of them were negative. The fans focused on their distaste for the dress but were quite polite and complimentary about the women pictured. Now while you can never completely predict how people will respond to content, a strong Community Manager should have a good feel for their community and be able to anticipate potential responses, and plan accordingly for them.
That’s why I was so surprised by the brand’s response:
Lesson #2: Respond appropriately to situations and anticipate how your comments will be perceived by the community and audience at large.
Now this could have been an attempt to redirect the conversation and get people to say nice things about the dress…but it didn’t work. Some of the fans got upset that LOFT assumed they were being unkind to the women pictured and responded to the brand, and some fans began discussing how “rude” others were being. Fans then began to move from expressing their distaste for the dress, to expressing their distaste for the brand.
One comment turned members of their community against each other and unleashed a firestorm of negativity towards the brand.
Lesson #3: Every experience comes with opportunities.
So what could LOFT have done to truly redirect the conversation and create a win for their brand?
Here’s one idea: Give Facebook fans a coupon specifically for that dress and ask them to upload a picture of themselves in it – let them style it, DIY it, mod it up. The fans can vote on whose take they like the best and the top 3 would get a chance to meet with the LOFT design team and be a part of the creative process. The winners can report back and the experience can be turned into a video where the fans highlight all of the great styles the team’s coming up with. Win back some positive sentiment, get the fans personally involved in the brand, give them a reason to believe in the future of the brand and remind people how much LOFT values them.
When she’s not working as a marketing manager for Make Me Social, Mandi Frishman enjoys analyzing brand pages on social media (seriously). During her time studying at The University of Florida, Mandi became convinced in the power of learning through play. She has since committed herself to playing (and learning) all day, every day.