Wednesday, August 6, 2014

#WhattheMuck: A Lesson in Social Media Importance

Glad the boots on the hard working feet of our family have always been Lacrosse or Bogs. I don't have to feel remorse for supporting a company that in turn supports organizations that are trying to end our lifestyle.
New Bogs- Sept 2012, still going strong today!
That might sound a little rash, and potentially this entire situation has been blown out if proportion, that's my guess at least, but I can guarantee that The Original Muck Boots company is reevaluating the importance of their social media posts. 

In two posts they managed to create a total uproar and turn away hundreds of customers by "accidentally fundraising" for the HSUS. 
Despite your views of the HSUS, (if you do support them and fall victim to their sad puppy and kitten commercials you should probably read up on their recent status and donor advisory from Charity Navigator. In fact Humane Society shelters see virtually none of that money that is raised. Want to help your local shelters, donate directly to them!) this is a total reminder to all companies to be aware of who is behind your social media and have an action plan in place to quickly resolve issues should they arise. 
The first posts (which have since been removed, another no no in the virtual world) were posted on Friday. The company did not make a response to the negative posts flowing in until Tuesday. 4 days is an eternity in virtual time. You have to be ready to respond in an instant or things can get out of hand. 
People were honestly burning their boots in response!

And they certainly did. The response has been huge from their main community of supporters: farmers, hunters, outdoorsmen and agriculturists. Hundreds of posts across all social media sites, even to the extreme of burning their boots. Finally an official response was made Tuesday afternoon 8/5/2014:
Screen shot from The Original Much Boot Company Facebook Page 8/6/2014
Now we all hate auto correct, and tagging can sometimes jump, but for it to be guilty if changing The Humane Association of Northwestern Rhode Island  to HSUS and tagging it is unlikely. To further complicate the situation, RI stated on it's Facebook page that is has no knowledge of the donation. If this is true, Muck has just completely committed company suicide, you certainly can't lie about an already bad situation!! 

Horrible situation for a tiny donation that was meant to memorialize a coworker. Muck will be regretting these two tiny posts for years. 

So to ALL the companies out there; if your going to utilize social media: 
*Be aware of who is posting and decide what is appropriate. 
*Always be on top of any situation. Time is important in the virtual world. 
*Using social media is an awesome way to reach customers, one of best of our time. Be aware that ONE post can make or break you!! 

I have a feeling every company in the country is currently double checking their social media procedures!! 

Happy posting!

Update: 8/6/2014 Just a few minutes before I was ready to post the above (cranky baby did not want to nap today!) my friend The Farmer's Wifee received this on her story asking for the truth from Muck:

"Krista. I read your post and I wanted to respond to you directly hoping to clear up a lot of confusion. To be clear: The Original Muck Boot Company did not make a corporate donation to HSUS. Yesterday was not a good day for our brand, and especially not for our social media team who made an honest mistake by ‘tagging’ the wrong organization in a few posts last week. We are very sorry that a this mistake has caused some of our loyal customers to be so upset.

Corporate statements aside, here’s what happened…we suffered the loss of a colleague from cancer a few months ago. As you can surely understand, that’s never easy. In lieu of flowers, his family requested donations be made to a local animal shelter in his honor. Our colleague loved cats, so we know that’s what he would have wanted. The local shelter that was identified, the Humane Association of Northwestern Rhode Island is close to the Muck Boot offices whose primary mission is to help stray cats. To make the confusion even greater, when our Facebook statement was issued yesterday, the employee contributions were still being collected internally and not yet distributed to HANRI, the local shelter. We have since been in contact with HANRI and cleared up the confusion. They are thrilled to be receiving over $2100 this week in contributions collected by and donated by the employees – not from The Original Muck Boot Company.

We’re sickened by the fact that our customers feel as is we’ve let them down. It was never our intention.
— Sean O’Brien, Director of Footwear, Muck Boots."

I have not seen an official confirmation of the personal donation from the Rhode Island shelter yet, but their post saying they had not received a donation has been removed. 

Take note companies: social media matters! 

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