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In a BrewDog age, does every firm need a blog?

If you’ve read more than 140 characters on social media, you’ll know that many people like myself, Chris Brogan and others advocate a blog as being a main part of your social media strategy. Unlike Facebook, Twitter and other sites, what’s on your site (like your blog) is yours and all yours alone with the benefits – SEO and otherwise – that it brings. Another great thing about a blog is that you can write as much as you want – useful in a crisis and you want to get your words across. After all, there’s no guarantee that the local press will pick up your release or use a lot of it.

Which brings us to BrewDog, a young brewing and pub company from Scotland (disclaimer: I’ve done work for them in the past but not at the moment). There’s been grumblings of late from some customers about problems with deliveries from their mail order.

So James Watt and BrewDog decided not only to do something about it, but tell the world exactly what happened and do so at length in this blog post.

Now, I think it’s a fantastic piece of customer information and service update – including a discount voucher at the end – and I think that while they criticise others, they stress time and time again that the key decision(s) in all of this were taken by BrewDog.

Now, will BrewDog have told the others mentioned in the article – My Brewery Tap, Yodel, Expect, UK Mail- that they are going to be blogged about? I don’t know. They are under no obligation to do so. And what will those firms make of the blog post?

But – as Mike Ritchie points out on Twitter: “How do you think the others will respond?” Do they take what has been said on the chin? Do the try and deny it? Do they say they are being used as scapegoats? Do they even monitor what it said about them online? Because this is quite a serious boot for those involved. It’s not one disgruntled person, it’s a disgruntled firm – and a firm with a vocal and active fan base (more than 5700 fans invested £2.2million in a recent share issuing) who will remember these firms and avoid them where possible.

So how do you handle that?

Handling negative comments in a blog post

First off, you do have monitoring in place so you can see what’s being said about you, don’t you?

  1. Judge the issue of complaint – is it one person, a company, more than one firm? How influential are they?
  2. Be frank with yourself about your level of fault/blame
  3. Have platforms in which you can reach out to people and tell your side of the story – blog, Facebook, Twitter, press (if need be)
  4. Leave comments wherever someone mentions this situation
  5. Be adult. Look at how BrewDog do this one. They point out where the weaknesses in the supply chain have been – while reminding people that they are to blame as well. Learn the thin line between criticism and blame
  6. If the fault is yours, own up – and tell people what you’ve done/are going to do to bring in change and improve matters.
  7. Show people on a regular basis how much you’ve changed and improved

So, in a BrewDog age does every firm need a blog? Yes, but before BrewDog were founded every company should have had a blog anyway. It should be a core and key part of any social media engagement strategy.

(As an aside, there’s nothing in the BrewDog blog that constitutes a crisis for any of the firms mentioned in it. Any of them could be on the road to setting things straight within 24 hours.)

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