Blend the First Amendment, social media and a heaping portion of bad language. What do you get?
A recent social media disaster…no, catastrophe…no, apocalypse…from Amy’s Baking Company Bakery Boutique & Bistro.
There’s a lot of (self-inflicted) heat in the social media kitchen for the restaurant’s owners, Samy and Amy Bouzaglo. The saga started when followers posted negative comments on the restaurant’s Facebook timeline. But, the real fun ensued when the Bouzaglos decided to take matters into their own hands by responding to the comments. And by “responding” I mean: Lashing out. Arguing. Dramatizing. #CrazyPeopleDanceParty
The online interactions are repugnant. The swearing was bad enough but it was the spelling and Random CAPITALIZATION (a formatting choice my friend, Sara, calls “Happy Capping.”) that nearly made my head explode.
All that said, I think Samy and Amy Bouzaglo are the Social Media Bees Knees. They’ve taught us some valuable lessons.
Sure, it’s easy to see what these two twisted people did wrong. But, their complete madness and lack of judgment drove them to accidentally follow three important communications principles:
1. Create a consistent brand voice, on- and offline.
Believe it or not, Samy and Amy have met this objective. Check them out on YouTube. Their conversations and exchanges with their staff and reality host Gordon Ramsay (Kitchen Nightmares) mirror what we’ve seen on the Facebook timeline. Over dramatized? I think not. You can’t make this stuff up.
Ideally, your brand voice isn’t filled with misspellings. Oh, and lose the racial slurs, insults and swearing.
Pro tip: Create thoughtful and intentional key messages for your staff and Board to use when talking about your organization. No jargon or buzzwords, please. Just straight talk to encourage your audiences to interact with you in positive and meaningful ways.
Which leads to my next point…
2. Engage with your audiences.
Wow! Did they ever! Samy and Amy did a beautiful job of feeding the stream with messages the audience was hankering for. The frenzy increased their Facebook following in a short period – which can be a good thing – unless people start following you just to watch the train leave the tracks. In that case, the negative business impact far outweighs the positive. Of course, if there happens to be a large population of people in Scottsdale, Arizona craving a little verbal abuse with their food, the Bouzaglos may need to start a chain. #SnackFoodSmackTalk
Pro Tip: Audience engagement is better without rage.
Learn what you can about your audiences and engage with them the same way you would if they walked into your building. Find ways to make your communications a two-way street. Build a long-term relationship.
3. Make the messages about them, not about you.
Samy and Amy sure did make it about the audience – with every type of verbal attack you can imagine. One of my favorites:
“You are all little punks. Nothing. you are all nothing. We are laughing at you. All of you, just fools…”
(Yeah. Not exactly the best way to make it all about the audience.)
Pro tip: Talk to your audiences about the work you do. More importantly, talk about why it can matter to them. If you’re talking to donors, for example, don’t give them your mission statement. Give them examples of how their money will help make a difference. How many kids will learn to read? How many people will be placed in a job? This type of relevant information is key to your organization’s successful communications.
When you want to engage with your audience ask yourself these questions:
- Are we being consistent and authentic on- and offline?
- Are we giving audiences relevant and compelling ways to engage with us?
- Are we focusing on the benefits of working with us?
When you’re not sure what to do, examine the Samy and Amy style. Then do the opposite. For sure, don’t call anyone a punk. #ThatsJustMean