Nestle is undergoing criticism from Greenpeace for its use of Palm Oil in its products on the grounds that it damages the environment. It has tried to publicize its position and action plans.

Nestle has used a Facebook Fan Page  with over 92,000 fans as one of its vehicles of communication but the handling of the issue by the community manager on Facebook  has become a Facebook Storm with customers and non customers. The dialogue from customers, fans and non fans has taken on a life of its own.

Blaise Grimes-Vort has written an article on this topic on his blog from the perspective of someone who is a community manager trying to manage social media. Sometimes the voice of the crowd gets beyond what any individual can handle and management needs to step in.

But the Community Manager may make the situation worse. There was, for example, an announcement, that the public should stop using modified logos as their profile pictures. The community manager was deleting unwanted posts on their fan page. There was a perception from the users that the community manager being rude. The community manager apologized.

In his same article, Blaise also has some interesting ideas on how a  Social Media Community Manager can keep a level head under fire.

Ultimately though, it is the senior management that has to step in and help with issue, make some difficult decisions, and publicize their action plan and rationale for their decision. Facebook is a vehicle to have a conversation with customers and prospects. The reaction to the policy and explanation needs management to be involved. Otherwise the fans (and non fans) who are unhappy on Nestle’s  comments on its Facebook Fan Page  are simply ‘shooting the messenger’ (the Nestle Facebook community manager).

Have you had any experiences with this topic or comments to share? Write them in the blog comments section.

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Adele Berenstein

Adele Berenstein is an Experienced Customer Satisfaction Executive, recently retired from a Large Global IT Organization after a long productive management career including Sales, Marketing, Services, teaching and education center management and most recently, 19 years in customer satisfaction management. She turned around divisions with customer satisfaction problems, implemented measurable improvements and management systems, and implemented programs to prevent problems from ever affecting customers.

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