Nikon Averts Facebook Crisis

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    Simple solution solves sticky situation

    We’ve seen cases of rogue or accidental social media posts sending organizations into crisis, but did you know that even fully vetted updates are capable of causing a load of trouble?

    In a recent post on the Mindjumpers blog, social media strategist Marlene Friis took a look at how camera manufacturer Nikon got into, and out of, a crisis on Facebook.

    1 update – 3,000 comments
    On September 28th, Nikon posted the following update on their Facebook page which at the moment has 846,879 fans: “A photographer is only as good as the equipment he uses, and a good lens is essential to taking good pictures! Do any of our facebook fans use any of the NIKKOR lenses? Which is your favorite and what types of situations do you use it for?”

    18 hours after the post was published, a bit more than 3,000 comments were made. Most of the comments from the fans expressed negative feelings towards Nikon, since they felt the brand was implying that a photographer is only as good as his equipment. A few comments defended Nikon, though, and some might say that the offended users were overreacting.

    Despite the possibility that the offended may have been overreacting, this wasn’t one or two trolls looking to get a rise, this was 3,000 potential customers. Nikon did the right thing and tackled the situation head on by posting the following statement on its wall:

    “We know some of you took offense to the last post, and we apologize, as it was not our aim to insult any of our friends. Our statement was meant to be interpreted that the right equipment can help you capture amazing images. We appreciate the passion you have for photography and your gear, and know that a great picture is possible anytime and anywhere.”

    An apology and clarification wrapped in one, this single post defused the quickly building crisis. Within hours there were hundreds of largely appreciative comments from fans, and by the next day, business on the Nikon Facebook page was back to normal.

    What can we take away from this? I would say that the entire situation is proof that Crisis Management 101 carries through to any medium, including Facebook – if you screw up, apologize, and you’ll get results.

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    For more resources, see the Free Management Library topic: Crisis Management
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    [Jonathan Bernstein is president of Bernstein Crisis Management, Inc. , an international crisis management consultancy, and author of Keeping the Wolves at Bay – Media Training.]