Social Media Mistakes Can Hurt Your Business
Barry Shlachter with the Fort Worth Star-Telegram recently reported on the story of the owner of a new brew pub who let his frustrations with his kitchen staff get the better of him. We've all heard the classic advice to count to 10 or go walk it off so you don't do or say something you will later regret. Apparently this guy didn't get that advice.
As Shlachter describes in his story, "Fort Worth pub seeks to put profane posts in the past," which was picked up by other papers who use the Mclatchy-Tribune News Service, Carlo Galotto ranted publicly via Facebook about what he called, "spoiled Obama kids" then engaged in some name calling when people posted responses to his unfortunate tirade.
Not exactly a great way to ingratiate yourself or your brand new business to your community. So here was the question posed by Shlachter:
Can the Zio Carlo Magnolia Brew Pub survive Galotto's postings that went viral, from local websites to forbes.com?
When Barry contacted me about it, I told him that it would be a tiny factor in the ultimate success or failure of the business, but it would be wise for Mr. Galotto to stop talking about it.
When you are in the midst of a problem, you should express concern and state clearly your intention to be part of the solution -- and then you should shut up and DO the right things. Actions speak far louder than words. If you are sorry for saying or doing something you regret, it is okay to say you're sorry, but it is far more powerful that you DO things to show you get it.
Here's what Barry reported from our discussion:
Dan Keeney, a Dallas PR consultant whose clients include St. Arnold's, a Houston microbrewery, said Zio Carlo can put the whole messy episode behind it.
"I doubt much lasting damage was done by his initial comments," Keeney said by email. "Plenty of people patronize businesses despite, and not because of, their owners. People lined up for soup from the Soup Nazi," he said, referring to a character from Seinfeld.
Galotto's biggest challenge now is the continued interest, which is exposing more people to his earlier statements, Keeney said. "And this gives him further opportunities to say things he might come to regret. We call that the echo effect.
"I suspect some, like me, didn't know the brew pub was open and will head down to check it out," he said. "The exposure isn't all bad."
While I am a huge fan of Seinfeld and just saw Jerry Seinfeld do an amazing standup in Vegas last week, I have to say that my example of the Soup Nazi isn't purely fictional. The character was based on a real restauranteur who was famous for his mistreatement of customers. My point is that if the products, services and experiences are incredibly great, people will put up with a lot.
Speaking for myself, I would prefer a bit more authenticity and realness from the people I do business with rather than all this concern about ruffling feathers. Some of my most enjoyable times come from enjoying the outrage expressed by others. Don't take everything so seriously! If someone has had a tough day at work, why shouldn't they feel free to say so? Why should someone be afraid to criticize the President or the candidates on the other side? Why can't we engage in honest disagreement without being hurt or angry?
And why must we force someone to apologize even if what they supposedly did caused absolutely no lasting harm whatsoever? Can you imagine a tavern owner in New York or Chicago groveling for forgiveness after insulting some portion of his clientele? Not a chance. He would tell them they would be lucky to be allowed back -- and that's the type of place a lot of people like me love to frequent. Real places with real owners.