How to worsen a crisis through social networks

By Thamyris Barbosa

Learn what NOT to do through the case of the hypermarket chain Carrefour

In one day, the post of a sale on the fruit and vegetable sector on social network shows little engagement. In the next day, the same content overcomes 300 thousand comments. The crisis’ bursted!

That is how Carrefour realized that the case involving a dog murdered by a security guard of the chain was going way too far: they would have to speak up. A big commotion gained notoriety after a post on Facebook that motivated the going of an animal protection activist to the place where she recorded footage of the aggression.

Altogether, circa 60 million people were impacted by the case (that is 30% of the Brazilian population). The protest that demanded boycott to the supermarket could not have gained such an immense proportion, tough. And if you are the kind that believes “there’s nothing so bad that it couldn’t be worse”, you will see in this case a field day to attest your thesis. That is why below are some of the actions that transformed the brand into one of the most hated of the country in the end of 2018. Follow this easy steps if you wish to worsen a crisis with the help of social network:

Outsource the blame

According to a note to the press sent out by the hypermarket of Osasco, São Paulo, the Zoonozes Control Center was responsible by the death of the little dog. They say “the dog collapsed due to the usage of a choke chain, a sort of suppression device”. Thus, copy this infallible hint: blame other institutions/people for your mistakes. This will show that your company did not understand the harm it caused and will persist on the conduct.

Underestimate the power of social network

It took only one post on social network to start a mobilization of thousands of people. In a visit to Carrefour’s Instagram, we see that even celebrities demanded explanations. A wave of outrage quickly turned into a tsunami, insofar as the sharing multiplied. The disbelief with respect to the power of social network made the company delay a statement. This delay is a very powerful ingredient to sink any institution in a situation of crisis. Abuse this item.

Use prompt responses

When they finally decided to pronounce, Carrefour chose a prompt response and pasted in every question. This is regardless whether the question was the health condition of the dog or the price of soy oil. All of them were responded likewise. This generated even more outrage, after all it showed the unpreparedness and indifference of the institution towards the happening. Many people got so angry with this action they started to make complaints in every post the company had since 2015.

Even if you have already performed all these hints, know it is not impossible to rescue the reputation of your company.  That will demand a communications strategy and, most importantly, a radical change, tough. A crisis brings opportunities to review processes and transformations. It is up to the company take this chance or not.