Badly Managed Social Media Requires Crisis PR
Friday, April 8th, 2016
700-year-old Scottish Castle under siege from angry brides after poor social media management
WEDDINGS are typically emotional affairs. Not a Crisis PR necessity, usually.
The emotions that surround them are usually those of love – not fury, bitterness and threats.
One Scottish wedding venue, Balgonie Castle in Fife, was laid seige by a horde of angry brides after its wedding planner took to social media to make a foul-mouthed rant against a complaining bride.
Within 24 hours the castle and its wedding planner were in the teeth of a fully-fledged PR crisis – with news of death threats against the woman behind the ill-judged social media comments making national newspaper headlines.
Within a day of the poor response from Kelly Morris – daughter in law of the castle owners, who is employed in the role of wedding coordinator – the reaction across social media had gone viral and was being discussed all around the world.
Yet this could have all been avoided. The first hints of the problems being experienced by one unfortunate bride were revealed in a private Facebook group – where brides-to-be discuss issues important to them and help each other find venues, photographers and other important necessities for a wedding.
In short the place to be, as a wedding coordinator.
As a husband to be, I know my fiancée is rushed off her feet making sure that our wedding plans are 100% sorted – we’d even looked at the location in question as a possible venue, I’ve breathed a sigh of relief about that not being the case.
The bride to be, posted a question to the group and Kelly Morris, the wedding coordinator spotted this. Despite the fact that the venue wasn’t mentioned, Kelly begun to lambast the bride to be.
One of the first lessons of social media crisis management is: “Take it offline if at all possible.”
At this point, Kelly should have sent the bride an email and either mentioned she’d seen the post and asked there was any way she could help – perhaps checking if there were any extenuating circumstances or other changes in her personal situation that may have warranted renegotiating the contract.
If you see anything that could negatively impact your business, the best thing to do is to instigate a private chat and if possible, take it offline – by trying to initate one-to-one customer service on private messaging, phone, email, or even real life face-to-face.
Of course, there are times when someone so disgruntled or intent on causing harm simply won’t agree to chat offline. A good rule of thumb in such cases is to reach out publicly to such people three times with offers to help, before leaving them to their online ranting. Savvy consumers will see that you have made repeated attempts to engage and will credit you for it.
However, what you should try to avoid is any instance of airing your dirty laundry online – and certainly, no matter what the provocation, a business should never descend into mud slinging, swearing, blustering or threatening.
Sadly that is exactly what Kelly Morris at Balgonie did. During what was described by one newspaper as “a meltdown” she started destroying her businesses reputation online. One Facebook post at a time, including:
- Revealing details of the complaining bride’s confidential contract
- Dubbing other, horrified women planning their weddings as “Bridezillas”
- Using foul language
- Threatening legal action against unhappy brides
- Finally admitting she had “cracked” and would be leaving the running of the business to her husband and father-in-law.
The appalling online meltdown made car crash viewing on social media, with some disbelieving commenters even asking if the Balgonie Facebook page had been hacked. However, this could happen to virtually any business without a crisis PR plan.
Chances are your business takes precautions such as insuring against the risks of fire, flood, theft and other risks unexpected events that could impact negatively upon your ability to operate properly. How many though, take sensible precautions with their online reputation? Not enough.Far too few.
We’re experienced and skilled at managing crisis, in fact we’d go as far as saying we’re probably your best insurance policy in case of any potential crisis.
Avoid A Social Media Meltdown: Get in touch with the experts.
We’d be happy to discuss creating a social media plan and crisis management strategy for your business. Like all of our PR services, the pricing is totally clear – in fact, we’re one of the most transparent agencies in the UK in terms of cost.
Simply phone us on 0131 561 2244 or fill in the simple form below and we’ll get straight back to you:
Private: Kenny Murray
Kenny Murray is part of the expert PR team at Holyrood Partnership, an award-winnning Scottish public relations agency, which offers media relations, social media, photography, video, crisis management and PR in Edinburgh.View Private:'s Profile
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