How MEA should have handled the bad buzz around the on board passengers’ fight

I think that most of you have already seen the video that is buzzing since last weekend about a man going nuts on a MEA flight from Paris to Beirut. In case you haven’t, here it is:

110 000 views on the Youtube video and more than 250 conversations on Twitter about the fight in 3 days and a very visible digital footprint on Google thanks to a number of blog posts about the subject… I keep on repeating it, despite the evidence of facts: today, information travels incredibly fast thanks to the Web. Social networks, real-time information, user generated content: All these innovations make the communicational context both exciting and dangerous.

A crisis around a brand on the social web can happen very quickly.

How MEA Air Liban should have reacted to all these negative messages associated to this video? So for the next crisis (even if they still might have a chance to handle this one properly), here is a list of tips and advice for MEA people on how they should handle the bad buzz on the web without worsening the situation.

Once a bad signal is detected and before the crisis :

Be present on social networks rapidly: Have a specific plan and set up a Social networks monitoring team in order to be aware of everything that is being said around this specific issue on all social media channels (blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Youtube…)

Build up your message carefully: Don’t have an excessive reaction, just try to be honest and transparent. Imagine the list of questions that could be brought up by this issue and the impact they can have on your internal organization and bring the appropriate answers.

Stay available to all questions even on week ends

Accept to lose control and assume your mistakes: You can’t control every conversation. If you want people to trust you and broadcast your message, you need to trust them: listen, be inspired, let yourself go and engage. The customer will be reassured and will provide more trust in a company that agrees to take responsibility rather than a company that says nothing.

Engage conversation and create relationships: This needs effort so don’t focus on talking about your brand. Ask questions, listen to peoples feedbacks and insights and try to adapt your organization accordingly.

Think on the long term: Don’t expect immediate results. Its takes time to create a community of brand advocates who trust you especially after this type of incident that brings up the very serious question of passengers safety on board.

Good luck!

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