Managing a Crisis in the Social Media Wilderness

Crisis management 101 pays off for gaming company

Crisis management professionals are very much aware of the reputation issues that negative discussions on Twitter, Facebook, and certain forum communities can bring.

When gaming company N-Control ran afoul of its stakeholders via a marketing consultant’s short temper (Quote: “We do value our customers but sometimes we get children like you we just have to put you in the corner with your im stupid hat on.”), the negative discussions blew up, especially on Reddit.

Reddit, at least at this point in time, truly is the social media wilderness. Users are near-fanatical about the page, and it serves as all-in-one Web portal, news site, and discussion forum for these rabid fans. Taking a page straight out of Crisis Management 101, N-Control’s PR consultant Moises Chiullan brought the discussion right to where it was the hottest.

A quote, from a CMOSite blog post by James Wagner:

So Chiullan launched an Ask Me Anything comment thread on Reddit. Ask Me Anything (or, in Reddit jargon, AMA) is an online Q&A forum; the originator of the thread invites Reddit community members to — as the name suggests — ask him anything. Anyone with a Reddit account can create such a thread, but the site has become so influential, many celebrities and companies now go directly to the company for help launching them. (“We’re starting to get more and more people coming to us, which is nice,” says Martin.)

As requested, Reddit users started asking Chiullan about N-Control, and what the company was doing to address its customer service issues. Hundreds of questions were asked and answered by Chiullan. Redditors also upvoted the thread in droves, putting it on the front page. Major tech sites cited it. Chiullan’s AMA thread has garnered hundreds of thousands of page views, says Martin. And while it’s too early to say how this has affected N-Control sales, it definitely created a upsurge of goodwill.

This is exactly what you want to do in crisis management. Sure, people were angry, but by confronting the issues head on in the place where the most heated discussion was taking place, N-Control showed stakeholders that, despite the actions of one miscreant marketing consultant, they really DO care.

The gaming community may be one of the most avid and fickle on the planet. By stepping in and taking ownership of the situation, N-Control diverted a quickly snowballing crisis and banked some valuable reputation credit for the next time.

The BCM Blogging Team

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