A curse on your pages: Facebook madness from Nestle and Beneful

Beneful, a Nestle subsidary which manufactures dog food, is in trouble:

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If you’re making dog food, and people start saying that your product is killing their dogs then that’s about as bad as it gets.

You may remember that Nestle provided social media consultants with one of the best, and most public examples about how to mis-manage a Facebook page with the palm oil debacle – here’s one of many blog posts which covered this. One of the key problems with this was censorship, and the deletion of posts.

How to avoid treading this road again? Address the situation head on, speak to the customers, try and gauge the scale of the problem maybe? Nope. Instead, in the face of a growing storm Beneful posts things like the following:

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or:

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While, at the same time, their Facebook page is starting to fill up with things like:

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Which gets a response something like this:

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It seems like Beneful are going down the same road which Nestle trod a few years ago – threaten your page fans with deletion and remain anonymous as possible; further, don’t address the issue directly.

And here’s why this is, generally, a bad move:

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Cultivating a following of ‘influencers’ works both ways – have a good product, be respectful and people will love you for it. Start disrespecting your followers, particularly by censoring posts, and you’ve not only set your Facebook page on fire, but are merrily throwing petrol onto the flames.

And here’s the impact on existing customers:

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It’s easy to criticise, but here some things I would do in this situation:

– Stop being so goddamn anonymous; use your first name when you moderate or comment; try and give people a name to which they can talk to. Anonymity makes it much easier to be offensive, and get treated the same.

– Use Facebook to acknowledge the current situation; for every hater, there’s a bunch of people who, for the time being, think your brand’s okay. Directly acknowledging the problem, sharing the facts and describing the action you are taking is the mature thing to do. Posts about skyping dogs, in the face of news articles about less than healthy hounds make it look like you’re ducking the issue. Regardless of whether the product is fine, or not, you need to be proactive with the facts – even if it is bad news. Who else can help?- can the FDA support your claims, for example, that everything is okay?

Nestle’s Digital Acceleration Team became a bit of a big deal a while ago – so why does this feel like familiar territory for Nestle?

Update: Beneful are clearly using copy and paste – they seem to spend more time informing people they are removing their posts that actually doing anything meaningful. Community management, this is not.

Thanks to the awesome Corporate Bollocks Facebook page for tipping me off about Beneful.

 

November Review – Facebook Page Comments – Swedish Universities Ranking

Here’s the November ranking for Swedish universities’ Facebook pages – based off the number of comments which their friends left on their walls, during the last month. This does not include comments left on posts by the page, or additional comments in a longer discussion. I’ve divided it into English and Swedish language pages.

Swedish language Facebook Pages

Overall, Linne Universitet’s wall saw the biggest increase in posting, with a growth of 20% since last month. There’s some international activity on the wall, which contributes to the growth, but the content seems to be mostly from students on campus; for example the sharing of blog posts or for sale notices.  The Karolinska Institutet, The Royal College of Art and Stockholm’s Universitet’s walls remain closed for posts.

Linne Universitet

60

Lunds Universitet

29

Linköping Universitet

27

Uppsala universitet

22

Högskolan i Borås

22

Högskolan i skövde

19

Mittuniversitetet

17

Högskolan i Halmstad

16

Mälardalans Högskola

13

Umeå universitet

13

KTH

11

Karlstads Universitet

11

Malmö Högskola

11

Högskolan i Jönköping

11

Högskolan i Jönköping

11

SLU

10

Högskolan Dalarna

6

Göteborg Universitet

6

BTH officiell

3

Högskolan Kristianstad

2

Högskolan Väst

1

English Language Facebook Pages

Malmö University sits at the top of this part of the ranking, with a page where posts are almost entirely questions about studying at Malmö, or how to make an application. Lund University, in second place, also has a wall dominated by questions about applying to Lund.  Uppsala, whilst enjoying fewer posts, shows a similar trend towards questions about making an application. Stockholm University and the Stockholm School of Economics walls’ remain closed.

Malmö University

56

Lund University

48

Uppsala University

22

Jönköping University

14

Umeå University

13

Chalmers University of technology

6

Karlstad University

6

Karlstad University

6

University of Borås

2

Some Quick Reflections

A few things occurred to me when I was preparing this month’s ranking.

Number of friends versus number of posts
A high number of friends is obviously great for reach and getting your content visible across the web. Lund University, for example, gets a high number of likes and shares for some of their posts which presumably leads to a healthy amount of inbound traffic to their page, and website. But, once again there’s little relationship between number of friends and number of posts;  Lund University has 5 times as many friends as Malmö University, yet they both have similar levels of posts.

Exceed expectations
The student’s question that you ignored or dismissed with a short, terse answer? There’s another university giving them red carpet treatment.  In the last month I noticed, on several different occasions, the same student posting the same question on different university’s walls (yes, your customers are fickle – get over it). The tone and level of support tended to vary. Enough to make them not choose your university? Hard to say; but maybe enough to drop you from 1st to 2nd choice. Exceed the expectations of your Facebook friends, the extra effort does not cost much and will reap rewards.

Don’t be shy about your social ecosystem
Chances are, the page I include here isn’t your only one – you’ll have an ecosystem of different pages representing Faculties, programmes or research activities, for example. Quick tips – make sure your pages are liking each other;  don’t rely on the Facebook search engine to show up your other pages. Also, encourage cross posting from one page to another;  get administrators from a particular page to post, using their own page’s identity; when appropriate this is a powerful way of drawing attention to the competence and presence you have on Facebook.

Facebook Page Comments – Monthly review of Swedish university Facebook pages

Another month passes, and we’re out of the national application period and into the beginnings of the frenzy of international recruitment. The overriding trend is that almost all pages saw a drop in comments, only the English pages saw similar numbers to last month – but even they showed a reduction in the number of comments. Chalmers School of Technology have opened their wall for comments, but 6 others still remain closed.

Comments

Swedish Universities English Facebook Pages – Ranked by number of comments left in October.

Page

Comments left by page friends

Malmö University

41

Lund University

38

Uppsala University

11

Jönköping University

12

Mid Sweden Uni

15

Stockholm University

Wall closed

University of Borås

2

Stockholm School of Economics

Wall closed

Umeå University

Wall closed

Chalmers School of Technology

1


Swedish Universities Swedish Facebook Pages – Ranked by number of comments left in October.

Page

Comments left by page friends

Linne Universitet

45

Mälardalans Högskola

25

Uppsala universitet

23

Linköping Universitet

23

Högskolan i Skövde

22

Lunds Universitet

20

Högskolan i Borås

17

Karlstads Universitet

14

Högskolan i Jönköping

12

Högskolan i Halmstad

11

Mittuniversitetet

11

KTH

10

SLU

8

Malmö Högskola

8

Umeå universitet

8

Högskolan Kristianstad

6

BTH officiell

4

Högskolan Dalarna

4

Högskolan Väst

1

Karolinska Institutet

Wall closed

Royal Institute of Art

Wall closed

Stockholms Universitet

Wall closed

My top tip for this month – open up your Google Analytics account, create a segment called ‘Social Media’ which includes Facebook, Blogs and Twitter and then apply it to your visitor traffic. For extra marks combine it with another segment, such as international visitors. Hopefully you’ll see an upward curve of traffic, particularly if you’ve been investing in Social Media – bask in the glory, but also consider how you can continue to drive this traffic. Ping me if you need advice on creating advanced segments.

Activity and Influence

I was struck by a post I read recently ‘confusing-activity-with-influence‘. In particular the line ‘..growing acceptance that activity somehow relates to influence’. I’ve been thinking about this a lot, and have already touched on this previously with the observation that pages with relatively low numbers of friends can still have lots more comments than pages with far more friends.  This notion of influence intrigues me, as this is what – presumably – most of us are striving after; I’ll soon be buckling down to an analysis of comments from the pages I look at in this review which will give more of a measurement of influence, rather than just activity.

Update: I’d missed off the number of comments from Högskolan i Jönköping from the above tables, they are included now. Thanks to @ollehallberg for letting me know.

Nikon’s Less Than Cunning Facebook Comment Provokes Friend Wrath

Nikon’s Facebook administrator, or one of them, had a bad day yesterday. They post this:

Comment from Nikon's Facebook page

Which resulted in comments like this:

Comments on Nikon's Facebook page

And more of this…

Comments on NIkons facebook page

Ouch. That’s gotta sting – definitely not thinking of their target group there. Not only did this post catch fire, but it also made its way quickly around the web. Not a great PR day.

A little while later they post an apology:

Comments on Nikons Facebook page

Which resulted in a whole bunch of new posts; some like this:

Comments on Nikon's facebook page

Poor choice of words? Over reaction?
Yes, both. They are talking to a community of artists – this comment was going to inflame them, and rightly so – technology is the tool. We get that Nikon sell equipment – ramming that message down our throat was clumsy. Equally, the comment got liked by a whole bunch of people (though that does not necessarily mean they agree with the sentiment). Further, it’s not uncommon to see a controversial post explode into a feeding frenzy like sharks in a swimming pool – the smallest sniff of blood can attract a lot of hate. It probably reinforced a negative view of the brand which some people already held, their marketing  team are probably looking with their interest at their unlike metric (though that won’t tell the whole story, by any stretch).

Not answering comments
There was a bit of a miss that, as far as I can see, there was no answer from Nikon to any of the comments which appeared on the original post. Yes – it would have taken a ton of work but if they’d got active on the resulting comments, explaining that it was a mistake on the thread itself it probably would have demonstrated sorrow far better than their apology some 12 hours later. Here’s an example of the kind of micro-moderation this requires – this is the band Morbid Angel dealing with their fan’s ire.

Fire the administrator?
A few posts suggest firing the administrator. Like this:

Comments on Nikon's Facebook page

Really? I’ve got no idea how Nikon functions with hiring and firing, but I think that firing the administrator would be a bad idea. Social media’s joy and power is the immediacy of response – which allows us to both inspire people, but also piss them off, very quickly. This post was not their finest hour, but firing the admin would be an over-reaction. Nikon – learn from what happened here and figure out if there was a better way to apologize. Incidentally, ‘apologize’ is corporate speak – you should be ‘sorry’.

What do you think – could they have managed this in a better way?

Swedish University Facebook Pages Review: Part 2. Comments

Ranked by the number of comments left by the page’s friends; Lund University and Malmö University’s English Facebook pages are in positions 1 and 2 compared to more than 25 Swedish universities.

Skövde’s Swedish page  occupies third place, followed by Uppsala university, Linne universitet and Borås Högskolan.

The number of comments left on the pages drops away quickly after the top 5 or so, with about half of the pages I look at attracting fewer than 50 comments from their friends during the summer.

Remember that I count ‘original’ comments by the page’s friends, rather than comments made on existing posts (I simply don’t have the time right now to do that).

At the time I collected the data, in late August, 7 university’s pages were closed – the only way to comment on their walls is by commenting on a post made by the page owners

Of the 29 pages included in this ranking, only 6 are in English (not including those which have closed walls). This month’s data has been divided into English and Swedish language pages. In all cases, comments were counted from between May 24th to August 28th.

International (English language Facebook pages)

Comments made between May 24th and August 28th:

Lund University 278
Malmö University 227
Uppsala University 155
Jönköping University 23
Mid Sweden Uni 17
University of Borås 8

(I’ve not included the pages which have their walls closed, but is this really all the English language Facebook pages from Swedish universities? Please let me know if I’ve missed yours off the list!)

Swedish Language Facebook Pages

Comments made between May 24th and August 28th:

Högskolan i skövde 197
Linne Universitet 152
Högskolan i Borås 102
Mälardalans Högskola 71
Umeå universitet 61
Linköping Universitet 57
Uppsala universitet 44
Högskolan i Halmstad 42
Lunds Universitet 41
Mittuniversitetet 38
KTH  36
Högskolan Väst 32
Malmö Högskola 30
SLU 15
Högskolan Kristianstad 9
Karlstads Universitet 9

British University Facebook Pages

Northumbria 531
Sunderland 416
Keele University 395
Sussex 330
London South Bank 300
Warwick 103
York 80
Leeds 46
Bradford 35

It’s clear that there’s something rather special taking place on some of these UK university Facebook pages. Much of the activity concerns which hall of residence the students have been allocated, which is something we do not have in Sweden. But, even with that taken into consideration, I find myself wondering – why don’t the Swedish language university Facebook pages show similar levels of engagement from their students. When you look at some of the Facebook walls, even from Swedish universitys with 1000’s of students on campus you can’t help but wonder – ‘where are the students?’

New Tabs – Showing degrees
Several Swedish universities are developing their use of tabs to show off their programmes. Here’ s how Skövde are doing it:

And here’s the same type of tab from Borås University, showing the comment function:

Borås Facebook Education Tab

This seems like quite an interesting idea – it allows visitors to the page an overview of the programmes and, if they comment on them, the opportunity for those comments to broadcast out to their network.