A supposedly innocent critique on social media
channels can very quickly develop into an uncontrolled accumulation of negative
comments. This so-called shitstorm not only creates bad press but in the worst
case can also affect the perception of the whole brand. The following article
explains the definition of a fecal storm, known examples, and important warning
signs. Also, five critical responses from Shitstorm Marketing are listed, as
well as measures to prevent the worst development.
definition - what is a shitstorm?
The term shitstorm or the shitstorm meaning is
defined in the Duden with “storm of indignation in a communication medium of
the Internet”. Communication media include, for example, blogs, Facebook,
Twitter, YouTube, and also messenger messages or emails. By definition,
individuals, celebrities, companies, associations, or authorities can be
affected by a shit storm. The defining feature is the many dislikes, including
many hateful comments or negative comments on social media posts. Often a shit
storm finds its source through social media and then spreads to other
communication channels. Extremely violent storms are even reported in the
offline media and thus in newspapers and television.
Between Criticism and Shitstorm - The Shitstorm Meaning
It is often difficult to tell the difference
between widespread criticism and shitstorm money. Because every annoyance
published online is not a shit storm, even with a huge number of users. It may
also be a reasonable criticism, but it is still difficult to quantify the
amount of time during a fecal storm. To be able to distinguish between
Criticism and Shitstorm, another feature is required that has been incorporated
into Duden's official account. Because there are "insulting statements"
in a storm that do not allow for a real discussion. Also, the following
criteria are met:
There is no real argument
According to Shitstorm,
contributions and comments are always on a personal level
Common abuses, punishable insults,
and death threats may be included
Because of these developments, a shit storm often
ends with a legal dispute. Due to the narrow line between criticism and
criminal discussion, this can take years.
of a shit storm - practical examples
Even big companies can't always avoid sudden shit
storms. The following examples illustrate which responses improved the
discussion and how corporations dealt with their shitstorms:
NESTLE AND THE PALM OIL DISASTER - SHITSTORM EXAMPLE FOR SNACK INGREDIENTS
In 2010, the environmental protection
organization caused a major shit storm that affected the food company, Nestle.
In a social media campaign specifically for this shitstorm, the company has
criticized the amount of palm oil in KitKat products. Complaint: The company
needs large quantities of palm oil for its production and for this, the
orangutan habitat is being destroyed. As part of this campaign, Greenpeace has
released several YouTube videos and launched a live sheet. This is because many
customers have not only responded to the hateful comments but also created fan
pages to exchange more ideas on the subject.
Nestle, On the other hand, has tried to ban
videos and aggressively shut down fan sites to avoid discussion. But the
response has sparked further discussion. In the end, the team had to agree with
the palm oil suppliers and take part. Also, the company has come up with an
action plan to better protect the primary forest in the future.
signs of an imminent shit storm
There are many warning signs that can trigger a
shit storm. Even if these signals do not necessarily have such a negative
effect, it is advisable to observe the following events closely:
An above-average number of
comments under a post, for example on Facebook
Many negative-emotional or
exaggerated critical comments without concrete real content
A sudden increase in discussion
about your own brand
Influencer mentions in news,
blogs, forums, social media
To be able to recognize these warning signals for
an impending shit storm, the products or brands, competitors and key terms of
the industry should be checked regularly on the Internet.
Marketing - The 5 most important reactions
Anyone who ignores warning signals or doesn't
respond on time can throw shit at their own company. In such a moment, a plan
is needed to get out of this situation as soon as possible with the appropriate
response of each founder. The following steps by ShitStorm Marketing help in
IMMEDIATELY TO SHITSTORM MARKETING
The worst reaction to a shit storm is to keep
everything calm. It is best to acknowledge the problem and resolve it as soon
as possible. It is important to provide feedback or information to the people
concerned to show that the problem of a potential sewage storm is being
Many companies are afraid of this sentence, but
it helps in many cases: "We are sorry that this happened. We will do our
best to prevent this from happening again. “Thus the company shows that it can
admit mistakes and does not offer a new goal through negotiation.
It is not enough to react once and then react
again. It is better to keep customers up to date regularly. If you do not have
any new information, you can reply with "We'll let you know as soon as we
know." Also, however, it is worthwhile to publish individual steps or new
4. DO NOT
If you simply delete the criticism, you can make
Shitstorm worse. Because you seem to have something to hide. If something is
deleted, for example, because it contains sensitive company data or serious
insults, an explanation is needed. The decision may be fair and will not make
the shit storm worse.
If you use a content management system such as
WordPress, Joomla, or Typo3, you can create a subpage that does not appear in
the navigation bar and thus cannot be recorded by Google. This subpage is a
good way to publicly and objectively summarize the problem of a possible shit
CRITICISM AND TURN IT INTO PRAISE
If the storm of excrement has already begun and
cannot be stopped, then criticism can also turn into praise. American biscuit
maker Honey Maid shows how it works. As its commercial show, tattoo hipster and
parent of a gay couple, the food maker has found pages of hateful comments
online. In response, Honey Maid made a second video. It shows two artists who
printed the whole shitstorm, rolled it up, and made something great out of it.
This space has generated positive feedback and increased sales.
to avoid a shit storm
A shitstorm does not come suddenly, it develops
from one or more reviews. But, it can happen very quickly, from the first
message to the shit storm it sometimes only takes a few hours. Thus, it is
important to take the following measures to avoid a shit storm:
OBSERVE AND RECOGNIZE WARNING SIGNALS
It is understandable to regularly check
references in the social media area and check them with the help of social
listening. The first warning signal may be recognized and, ideally, maybe made
clear in the conversation via direct message.
ALWAYS HAVE A PLAN
Everyone who works in a company with social
networks should also know the important aspects of the company. Because in this
way possible excrement can be planned before the storm. In preparation for
this, it is understandable that, for example, account access is not distributed
randomly, but is logged correctly.
REACT TO NEGATIVE FEEDBACK BEFOREHAND
Even if it’s not often a shitstorm, there can be
negative comments about a company at any time. For example, when evaluating a
product or after an event. These negative comments must be heeded and answered.
Because it gives the overall idea that the company is capable of critique,
which can reduce the chances of a potential shitstorm.