When Social Media Explodes

I keep up with the news ALL day. I have an entire monitor on my desk dedicated to my Twitter feed that gets refreshed every 60 seconds. Sometimes I scan through and it’s nothing important, other times my feed will blow up with something.

And yesterday, my feed blew up with Marcy’s Diner. The owner of this diner yelled at a toddler to be quiet in her restaurant.  The act in itself is frowned upon, but the only reason this story took off is due to the owner’s explosive response to the mother’s bad review on Facebook.

Had the owner not responded, or responded kindly, no one would be talking about this today. Had the owner exercised some restraint and good judgment, the restaurant’s Facebook page wouldn’t be swamped with trolls and angry comments. As of this morning, a single comment has earned 3,600+ likes and generated 571 replies. This is just a single comment! This doesn’t include all the posts to the page from random strangers all over the world or the hundreds (maybe thousands) of other comments.  From an analytical stand point, these numbers are great, but the restaurant’s reputation is now tarnished.

Here are my Top 3 Examples of When Social Media Explodes

Boner’s BBQ

This one hits close to home, literally. This BBQ joint was located in Atlanta in one of the parking lots of Turner Field (go Braves!).  In January of 2012 Boner’s made national headlines when the owner lashed out at a woman for her negative review on Yelp.

Here’s his response to her Yelp review:

“NOT WANTED! [Patron] left waitress 0.00 tip on a $40 tab after she received a Scoutmob discount. If you see this woman in your restaurant tell her to go outside and play hide and go f- yourself! Yelp that b-!”

The Internet responded swiftly and showed no mercy. Even though the owner removed the Facebook post and offered an apology, the damage was done. The business suffered massively and eventually closed later that year (they offer catering services these days from an undisclosed location).

Amy’s Baking Company

In May of 2013 the world witnessed the meltdown of Amy and Sam Bouzaglo on the television show Kitchen Nightmares AND Facebook. The two owners went so far off the deep end that even Gordon Ramsey gave up on them.

Here are some snippets of Amy’s Facebook rants (warning: strong language ahead)

Citizens of the Internet responded immediately. Not only was the Facebook page attacked, but thousands of negative, and fake, reviews were posted to the restaurant’s Yelp page (Yelp spent weeks removing the fake reviews). The restaurant has since closed, but the two have opened a wholesale bakery under the same name.

Marcy’s Diner

And now Marcy’s Diner has become the latest social media explosion. Here’s the response that has been heard around the world (warning: strong language ahead)

Screenshot taken of the reply before it was deleted. This is not my screenshot.

Screenshot taken of the reply before it was deleted. This is not my screenshot.

Yikes! Since this social media explosion is fresh and still making its rounds on the news, no word yet on how this will impact business. But if history can tell us anything, it’s that a tarnished reputation can shut down a business.

If these restaurants had a dedicated Social Media Manager, these scenarios would have played out differently. A Social Media Manager is a professional that serves as an objective buffer between the public and the business. A SMM knows how to diffuse a situation and prevent these types of explosions (unless they forget which account they post from, but that’s a different story).

What social media explosions have you witnessed?