Using social media properly can be a nightmare for an ecommerce website, especially for a social newbie. There are no real standards to follow, because it is a rather new concept. While companies have used websites like Twitter and Facebook in the past, the potential of social ecommerce was not as much as it is today.
With social trends moving from marketing, to actual profit generation and reputation management, it is a great time to start building a social presence. But there is a right way and a wrong way to do this.
Every once in a while, an actual scandal will erupt. What might have been a single negative experience will spiral into a disaster before you know it. This is thanks to the public awareness spawned by the social nature of these websites. There is an added level of transparency that has changed the playing field.
An Example of Things Gone Bad -- Dominos Pizza
Back in 2009, Dominos Pizza faced a firestorm when two employees from North Carolina posted a video on YouTube. It showed a man doing disgusting things to the food, including putting cheese up his nose and placing it in someone's order. The woman filming could be heard laughing as he did this.
When it hit the web, there was a flurry of interest within the first few hours. It went viral in less than a day. The video was replicated, reuploaded, and shared long after the employees took down the original.
Despite the popularity of the video, Dominos did not become aware of the scandal until the next day, when an email reached Tim McIntyre, the Vice President of Communications. He immediately set about trying to repair the damage. The employees were fired, the video was taken down, and a statement was released assuring the public that there was no evidence that the food had been delivered.
However, the damage was already done.
What Can We Learn From the Dominos Pizza Fiasco?
Social media presence is important to catch these problems in time. The couple of days it took to wrangle the problem cost the company a lot. But it also drove them to begin social media campaigns of their own, with great success. In fact, as I reported in July 2011, Dominos Pizza eventually turned out to be a pretty successful ecommerce player.
One could argue that the action of two employees in no way represents Dominos Pizza. And two rogue employees of any large corporation could cause similar harm.
Social Ecommerce Is Not Necessarily a Good Thing, but it Can Be
Whenever I address an audience of ecommerce professionals, the word "social" invariably pops up during discussions. Some people would like to crack the Facebook code; others merely want to know if there is truly an RoI on social spends.
While these questions are important to professionals in any discipline, one must not forget that the promise of social media is not restricted to these few measures. For instance, how much money would you be willing to allocate to an activity that skyrockets customer engagement? What if you could experience raw consumer behavior in social media interactions, and also influence it? What would that be worth?
The Customer Is Changing -- She Is Empowered by Social Media
When Twitter started, it was derided as being a place where people merely posted about what they had for breakfast. Though that criticism had some merit at that point of time, we have traveled a great distance since then. Businesses are now integrating social interaction into the mainstream of their marketing and communication. In the context of this article, it would probably be relevant for you to visit the Dominos Pizza Twitter page to see what they are up to.