Can You Recover from an Amy's Bakery Style Social Media Meltdown?

Mike_Velocity
Mike McGrail Managing Director, Velocity Digital

Posted on May 15th 2013

Can You Recover from an Amy's Bakery Style Social Media Meltdown?

Something truly awesome happened on Facebook on Monday night. Arizona based Amy's Bakery Company, had an complete and utter social media meltdown. We are talking biblical proportions here people! You've probably read about it all ready, but I'll set the scene anyway...

  • The restaurant recently featured on Gordon Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares - he dropped them half-way through as they were too hard to work with!
  • On Monday night, the owners, Samy and Amy took to Facebook to respond to some negative comments about their food and pricing
  • The thing is, they weren't addressing issues in a calm and composed fashion. They lost the plot. Big time!
  • People on their Facebook Page started to respond, many of them landing there due to a busy thread on Reddit (which I can't find now...)
  • It just got nastier and nastier. For example...
"WE ARE NOT FREAKING OUT. WE DO NOT CARE ABOUT A "WITCH HUNT'. I AM NOT A WITCH. I AM GODS CHILD. P*** OFF ALL OF YOU, F*** REDDITS, F*** YELP AND F*** ALL OF YOU. BRING IT. WE WILL FIGHT BACK"

THE USE OF CAPS LOCK REALLY MADE PEOPLE PAY ATTENTION.

Obviously we were hacked...

Once they had calmed down, they blamed hackers... Source - Facebook.comSource - Facebook.com

It's worth noting at this point that this wasn't confined to Facebook, the Loony Tunes behaviour was also spanning across Twitter and Yelp. Blaming hackers? Really! The FBI? Come on!!!

How can you recover from such a massive social media fail?

This is one of the worst social media fails I have ever seen. In fact, it's one of the worst social media fails the world has ever seen. How do you recover from such a disaster? They weren't just rude, they were insulting, their use of heavy-duty nasty words was completely out of control. As a quick aside, I love the fact that they were banging on about God being on their side! I think you may have maxed out on the big man's backing there folks! The first step in recovery is to put your hands up and say sorry. Simple. Instead, they have shirked all responsibility and blamed it on hackers. That's another big slide down on the 'potential for recovery' scale. They've now missed that initial apology window. What to do? Source - Facebook.comImage source - Facebook.com. My text added using skitch.

I think this one is terminal

You simply cannot expect to speak to people like this and expect to quickly rekindle any iota of positive sentiment that may have existed before. The fact that they were on Ramsay's show would say that their product was rotten in the first place, but that could have been fixed - now they have doubled-up on the issues by monumentally alienating and hacking off a lot of people. However, with all of that in mind, they still should say sorry and be humble. And of course, sort out their business. It might just work, but it will take time.

But could this put more people through their doors?

They say no press is bad press. I think social media may well have shattered that age-old saying. But you never know, they may get people wanting to come and try the place out, and meet Samy and Amy, the people who caused a social social media F*** P**** S***storm of biblical proportions. They key lessons from this? Don't even think of using social media when you're angry. Don't be defensive, address the issues and try your hardest to help. Say sorry and be humble. Don't use CAPS LOCK.

Did the Amy's episode make you laugh, cry or cringe? Have you been part of a social media fail and recovered? How did you do it?

Mike_Velocity

Mike McGrail

Managing Director, Velocity Digital

I'm Mike McGrail, founder of UK based digital marketing and communications consultancy, Velocity Digital. We offer social media, content and digital marketing services, with a focus on measurability at all times. Follow me on Twitter and Google Plus.

 

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Comments

LakeGeorge3
Posted on May 15th 2013 at 10:40AM

Great article! This will be the perfect social media failure use-case study in MBA classes. I think the golden rules is be nice and fair in real world. then be honest and polite on social media. There are a lot of interesting discussions on Twitter about this: http://t.co/1fKu5KE6hV

LakeGeorge3
Posted on May 15th 2013 at 12:20PM

Is it posible they intentionally crafted this incident to draw attention? Like some actress intentionally expose their underware when they sniff paparazzi around?

kandice
Posted on May 15th 2013 at 10:45AM

This definitely is the topic of the day. Here in lies the rub, though - and to answer your question "but could this put more people through their doors?" Absolutely YES! You knwo they are making bank off of this fiasco, and while the increased income will not last long, people are flocking to their FB Page as well as their bakery just to see this entertainment in person. They are laughing all the way to the bank, as they say. And yes, I do think they will recovery, if done properly, and they will keep A LOT of the enormous Fan base that has flocked to their page. Remarkable story!

Mike_Velocity
Posted on May 15th 2013 at 11:01AM

I totally get that, my main concern is that they have shown themselves to be pretty nasty people and people don't like to do business with horrible people. I actually think they should take a big slice of that money that comes through the door from people wanting to see the circus in action and give it to charity. That would help.

mcbrown84
Posted on May 16th 2013 at 11:03AM

Well they did announce yesterday a big event where they would give some proceeds to charity. How much and what charity, no one knows. Also, they placed an email address in that release that ends with 'pr. My guess is they finally got their head on straight and called a PR professional. Although as one, I would have never tied my name to this mess. I'll be interested to see how this 'grand reopening' goes for them.

Mike_Velocity
Posted on May 16th 2013 at 12:15PM

Hi Martha, a brave PR indeed! I've written an update post here - http://www.velocitydigital.co.uk/an-update-on-amys-baking-company-social...

walnutwriting
Posted on May 15th 2013 at 10:48AM

Great post, Mike! I watched the complete episode an hour back and it's a fail of epic proportions. Whatever little business they had left is probably gone by now. We can only hope they learn from it but my guess is they probably won't.

Mike_Velocity
Posted on May 15th 2013 at 10:59AM

If they get people visiting the restaurant just to see the circus and perhaps turn them round into happy customers, they may be ok. So much work and apologising to do. 

Mike_Velocity
Posted on May 15th 2013 at 10:59AM

If they get people visiting the restaurant just to see the circus and perhaps turn them round into happy customers, they may be ok. So much work and apologising to do. 

David Mitchel
Posted on May 15th 2013 at 1:43PM

When I first read the story, I was at a loss for words about how to describe it. I've not seen a social media meltdown like this.

This will be a challenge to come back from and I'm not a believer that all publicity is good publicity. This is definitely not good publicity.

They will improve on one brand management metric: brand awareness. Brand awareness is the first step to inducing a purchase, but between the social media controversy, the negative publicity about what happened in social and the Gordon Ramsey Kitchen Nightmares, this is a lot to come from back.

I agree that one way or another, this will serve as a case study.

ubersocialmedia
Posted on May 16th 2013 at 3:23PM

Intersting post. I think it's hugely important that any business using social media understands how to deal with negative comments in a way that won't damage their reputation. Remaining professional is critical regardless of how difficult a customer is being.

mcbrown84
Posted on May 16th 2013 at 4:06PM

Also, Shell, is having a positive reputation outside of the social realm. If the company knows you and you have good products, good customer service, and a track record of success, they are more likely to go 'to bat' for you when the going gets tough. Amy's didn't have that to begin with, which is why I think they will close down soon.