This past week saw the news break of a woman who Twittered a negative comment about Horizon Realty - so that Horizon Realty filed a $50,000 lawsuit against her.
Is the lesson here that you should not twitter negative comments? Hardly.
The real lesson is the cost to Horizon Realty. It's a cost in reputation as well as a possible cost in real dollars because of the negative publicity they have created for themselves by their lack of understanding of social media and how to deal with it.
My TwitterPal, @MrChristopherL from Sterling Cross Communications has written an excellent and thought-provoking posting on his blog "Above the Buzz" titled "Horizon Realty – A Case Study in how not to handle online reputation management".
Lower effectively demonstrates the negative impact Horizon's actions have had on its reputation. He also has some excellent suggestions for dealing with crisis communications in a such a situation. And, as he correctly points out "the best defense is a good offense".
Anyone who fears or denigrates social media as a marketing tool would be well-served to read and learn from Lower's perspective before they or their organization/company finds itself in the situation the Horizon Realty did.
It is only a matter of time before this happens to an organization or institution in the International Education community. Will they be ready for the challenge? That remains to be seen.
- 3 Tips to Use Social Media for Exceptional Customer Service (hubspot.com)
- The Social Side of Brand Management (socialmediaexplorer.com)
- Crisis Communications Plan: Rogue Tweets, Facebook Attacks and More (thewakemanagency.com)
- Developing a Social Media Strategy (karlawheaton.wordpress.com)
- 3 Biggest Social Media Marketing Myths That You Need to Break Out Of Immediately (stayonsearch.com