Facebook reviews… turns out you cannot have your cake and eat it

(UPDATE: In the wake of this blog The Shed sought to retain Morgan PR to manage this situation. It is significant that at no stage has the client asked for this blog, or critical comments we made on social media,  to be removed.)

There is an interesting social media car crash spinning in the carriageway of the web traffic, with a bistro in Bath objecting rather strongly to a customer’s negative comments.

A negative review on The Shed’s Facebook page from a paying customer, which still gave the venue three stars (the average is three-and-a-half stars based on 46 reviews) prompted an astonishing foul-mouthed response from the venue.

You can see the screengrab right where Helen Forsyth, a sales consultant from Bath had coffee there on Friday, but was clearly a little worried about the cakes…

“The cakes looked amazing and I wanted to try every single one BUT the cakes were on very open display with every customer essentially leaning over them to order. So all the cakes were getting breathed on (or worse) by every single passing person, plus the staff. Which is a crying shame as they really did look extremely good. And at £3 per standard sized brownie, they really do need to be good too! But due to the above, we just had coffee.”

Fair enough? Sure it is going to smart if you own the joint, but does it warrant this nuclear response to a mosquito bite? A response that singlehandedly guaranteed that this tale would go viral.

The Shed responded:

“Please don’t come back – your feedback is b****cks ! You would need to be a midget with a neck of a giraffe to be able to breath (sic) over them – stupid woman!”

(Those expletive undermining stars are ours by the way, they actually swore at paying customer on Facebook!).

And so it began… News crews are probably coming back from the floods in Somerset to cover this debacle and while many people will hear of The Shed, how many who are local will take a view on whether to visit?

Twitter, far more than Facebook, is where this story is unfolding with @theshedbath seemingly responding to every tweet with gusto.

At Morgan PR we often have businesses come to us when negative reviews or online material has been published and the first thing we try to do is quote George Bernard Shaw.

“Never wrestle with pigs. You both get dirty and the pig likes it.”

That usually gives them pause to think and honestly that is what you need to do if you get negative reviews.

How differently would it have gone if The Shed had thanked Helen for her feedback and mentioned displaying cakes in this way meets with food safety standards (everyone does it so it surely must?).

There is a trend for venues to go postal against negative reviewers and they nearly always make the headlines. Who is left the most dirty by this depends on the content of the negative review – if the response is proportionate it tends to come out in favour of the venue. However if as in this case when it seems somewhat over the top…

Incidentally, it is worth examining the law surrounding defamation as The Shed is making all sorts of threats relating to what is calls “libellous/defamatory comments”.

The Defamation Act 2013 came into force at the start of the year and has substantially changed the defences to claims of libel, chief among them is the ‘Requirement of Serious Harm’ – which would need The Shed to prove serious financial loss. Assuming such loss occurred I wonder how much would be deemed to be caused by their responses rather than the original comment?

The customers leaving a review also have the defence of ‘Truth’ if what they have said is actually true, however it may be more straightforward to rely upon

If it was an ‘honest opinion’ then they have a defence. This hefty protection replaced ‘Fair Comment’ but remains the reviewer’s friend. The defence of honest opinion will apply where the defendant can show that the following three conditions are met: 

  • That the statement complained of was a statement of opinion;
  • That an honest person could have held the opinion on the basis of any fact which existed at the time the statement complained of was published.
  • That an honest person could have held the opinion on the basis of any fact which existed at the time the statement complained of was published

So speaking as a journalist quick test based on the available facts: Yes, it is an opinion. Yes the statement is the basis of the opinion and if the cakes were on show as they are in photos on The Shed’s Facebook page, it is an honest opinion that it could be unhygienic, whether or not it actually is.

So today’s social media car wreck is tomorrow’s forgotten bookmark and it is way too early in 2014 to know if this will make the top 10 social media fails just yet… but it might!

So if you want some advice before you go nuclear at some perceived slight contact Morgan PR for some friendly, professional advice – and be prepared for us to quote George Bernard Shaw.

Morgan PR clients Perfectly Posh Hair Design and VICI Language Academy celebrate West Berkshire Business Awards triumph

Krysia Eddery with the Best Use of Social Media award won by Perfectly PoshTwo of Morgan PR’s clients are celebrating after success in the recent West Berkshire Business Awards. Hungerford’s Perfectly Posh Hair Design scooped ‘Best use of Social Media’ while the VICI Language Academy was a finalist in the ‘Small Business of the Year’ category.

We offer our heartfelt congratulations and thought it was worth looking at what helped Perfectly Posh to win that award and VICI to reach the final three.

A personal approach on Facebook and Twitter has long helped Perfectly Posh Hair Design, an Aveda Salon in Hungerford, Berkshire, woo new clients, fill cancelled appointments and raise awareness

“We were delighted to win,” comments Salon Director and founder Krysia Eddery. “We were up against businesses who specialise in social media but the judges clearly liked our personal approach. Contrary to prevailing advice we have never scheduled our updates, preferring to update between clients and we always engage with those who comment and chat to us. We see social media as an online extension of the atmosphere within the salon. 

“We promote offers and opportunities for late bookings through our social media channels and links for people to book online and perhaps most powerfully we share when we have a cancellation and will nearly always have followers get in touch asking to fill the slot, which is great for business and ensures stylists are rarely are left with empty chairs.

“We encourage people to use social media in the salon too with suggestions on all our mirrors to Like us on Facebook, leave reviews and Follow us on Twitter and provide free wifi to make this easy for our clients.

On Twitter @PPoshHair has over 1,100 followers and most, alongside industry insiders, are local to the salon and the majority are clients, however we really rock on Facebook where Perfectly Posh has 3,190 Likes and climbing with rarely less than 120 people talking about us and a host of five star reviews giving social proof on social media.

“There is also the Perfectly Posh blog where we share our photo shoots and talk about the latest styles and the benefits of using Aveda products; we share new blogs on Facebook and Twitter, but also have readers who visit the website just to catch up on the latest blog.”

It is the second award for Perfectly Posh this year as colourist Jody Gale won his category at The English Hair and Beauty Awards and naturally social media helped garner support for his entry and shared news of his triumph, instantly attracted new client and congratulations.

At the VICI Language Academy, which is in Arcade House in the heart of Newbury Town Centre, Nathalie Danon-Kerr explained how it felt to be among the finalists at the West Berkshire Business Award, which is still clearly a remarkable achievement.

“Here at the VICI Language Academy we were delighted to discover we were one of the finalists for the West Berkshire Business Awards 2013. We were among many businesses that entered and it was recognition of the hard work and achievement of everyone at the Academy that we reached the final three in the Small Business of the Year.

The Newbury MP Richard Benyon is supporting the awards and said: “The business community has many heroes and heroines who do not get enough recognition. This is a chance to recognise their achievements and to meet a wide cross section of the West Berkshire community.”

“We are not sure we are heroic, but we are very proud of all that we have achieved and being a finalist is a great honour with so many outstanding small businesses in West Berkshire and this comes as VICI is celebrating its fifth birthday.

“Five years that saw us launch as the country entered recession and grow year on year and ultimately flourish to the point where we are exploring launching VICI academies in other towns in the UK and also in France – where we suspect English will be the most popular language taught!”

Entering, and of course winning, awards is a great way to win some awesome PR and leveraged through social media the participation and potential triumph and then real success are sure fire ways to raise your profile and win new clients. Talk to Morgan PR today if you want to win with your public relations.

Need firewood, Home Farm Logs deliver in Berkshire & South Oxon

Log delivered in BerkshireLeaving aside the avalanche of media hype about freezing weather and a weather front dubbed the Beast from the East, it is getting chillier as winter progresses and nothing thaws frozen toes and warm the heart like a roaring open fire.

So with the left over logs from last year dwindling we turned to Google to find a local supplier for Goring in South Oxfordshire, close to the border with Berkshire. The search engine delivered log delivery service just down the road with a good looking website, so we could be ecologically sound with our supplier.

However we wasted countless energy chasing the firm and none of our messages were answered and it was rather disappointing. Then we spotted a small advert for Home Farm Logs in the Goring/Pangbourne/Yattendon edition of Round & About Magazine.

We checked out the friendly and professional website for Home Farm Logs and wanting to be green ourselves were thrilled they took it seriously, even devoting a page to ‘The Green Bit’ on the Home Farm Logs website.

However, would they be responsive as we’d been down this wooded path before? We put in the call, which was promptly returned and Mark Metcalfe introduced himself and booked a time the next day.

He arrived on time with a cubic metre of seasoned hardwood logs – mostly oak, ash and birch, all split by hand and bone dry, ready to be stacked and used over the long cold winter!

Naturally impressed I wanted to ‘Like’ Home Farm Logs on Facebook and asked if they were on the most social of networks… they weren’t but Mark revealed he kept being asked the same question… well, it might have been Sunday but Morgan PR creates reputations with public relations and social media and it would have been remiss not to have helped…

So Home Farm Logs on Facebook now exists after Morgan PR created the Facebook page for the log delivery company and it is already attracting fans and within 24 hours had received their first order via Facebook!

It was rewarding to be able to help a professional company better represent itself and we’ve no doubt that Facebook fans will get great customer service as we did and hopefully avoid the pitfalls that the search engine approach delivered.

So are there lessons here? Absolutely, first and foremost has to be about customer service – the Google result failed to deliver on any level whereas a local magazine yielded a reliable local supplier. Also, crucially for businesses pondering on the value of social media, Home Farm Logs had satisfied customers asking about Facebook so they could promote the business to their friends – imagine how many more would do just that if the Facebook page was actively promoted?

If you need firewood check out Home Farm Logs, but if you need help with Facebook or any aspect of social media and public relations, you can contact Morgan PR!

Adding video to Morgan PR with West Berkshire’s Dudleigh Films

Nigel Morgan of Morgan PR uses the green screen at Dudleigh FilmsFew can deny the appeal of video content on your website and on social media and this week Morgan PR has been working with Peter Cooke of Dudleigh Films to create some powerful messages to help Berkshire businesses understand the benefits of PR and how to get the most from their social media.

Dudleigh Films has a modern studio in Thatcham with a green screen background which makes adding after affects a breeze and for those who need it there is even an autocue device normally the preserve of television presenters and newsreaders.

We had allowed three hours to capture a host of tips and advice that will be shared on my own Twitter feed @Nigel_Morgan and the company twitter account @MorganPR and of course @DailyPRTips and @DailyTwitTips too. They will also provide valuable content for Morgan PR on Facebook.

Naturally, as the author of the 30 Day LinkedIn Challenge the filming also included some powerful tips to get the most out of LinkedIn which will feature within the daily updates we post on my LinkedIn profile. One video will reveal me telling you how important it is to use updates!

I learned some formidable front of camera skills at the sharp end of public relations as a press officer for Thames Valley Police in Berkshire where an ability not to get tongue-tied was paramount when making the public feel safe while appealing for witnesses while the scenes of crime wandered in and out of the crime scene behind me. A busy public speaking calendar also polishes the presentation skills.

Consequently we managed to get 97 different videos ‘in the can’ during the session and now the post production work has begun, to edit and add relevant images, sounds and a professionally produced indent to each and every video. A sneak peak has already revealed some great HD quality to Peter’s filming.

In a few short weeks the videos will start appearing here and across the web and will hopefully help hundreds of businesses improve their PR and social media… and no doubt a few will become clients too.

Peter Cooke of Dudleigh Films, Berkshire videographerThere are still more videos to make, not least one where our clients will explain the benefits of working with leading Berkshire PR and social media consultancy Morgan PR!

Dudleigh Films is a client of Morgan PR and clear a great supplier. We use Peter Cooke with our Media Training in Berkshire.

Currently Peter Cooke (pictured right) from Dudleigh Films is running a cracking offer for businesses and professionals in West Berkshire who are keen to create video content for their website and social media channels. For a mere £200 he will host you in his Thatcham studio for two hours and create up to six ‘talking head’ videos. The price includes subsequent editing.

This is a really excellent way to dip your toe into video and discover how it can transform your online profile.