Party City Learns a Scary Social Media Lesson

I will admit it. I hate Halloween! I hate the mobs of zombies, scary haunted houses and definitely spider webs everywhere. But in social media, there are few things as scary as a mob of moms who want to teach you a lesson, and today Party City learned a scary lesson in social media management. I’m not sure what it is, but when another mom is in trouble our capes come out and we will fight for a fellow warrior!

So when Lin Kramer went to find her little three-year-old daughter a Halloween costume, she was disappointed to find the selections so limited for little girls in the career choices area. Boys could choose to dress up like police officers, mail carriers, fire fighters, ninjas (I think this is now a career), doctors, and many more, but in the girls section, there was a cheerleader (Is that a career?), a cowgirl, a princess (not sure how you apply for this one), and a “sexy” police officer with a V-neck top and ruffle skirt. When Lin posted her concerns on Party City’s Facebook page, the company replied with the standard, “We appreciate you bringing this to our attention…” and then…they DELETED HER POST! AHHHHHHHHH (insert psycho music here)

never delete a post from an angry social media fan

When you open your social media doors on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, or any other social site, you are welcoming the little angels that come trick-or-treating, as well as those creepy, bloody-faced, devils. Today, consumers don’t have to call and ask to talk to your manager, they simply go to social media and let the manager find them. (TWEETABLE)  Deleting their comment is like hanging up on them. They will go home, gather their friends and dozens of eggs before returning!

Never underestimate the power of a group of people on social media! Social media moms came out in support of Lin and canvased Twitter, Facebook and everywhere else, committing to boycott Party City until they apologized to Lin. I’m sure their social media team is dressed in Scooby Doo costumes today, saying, “Ruh Roh!”

The lesson here is, never delete a post from a customer who is bringing you valuable feedback. Like the toothbrush you get in your trick-or-treat bucket, you may not want it, but you can’t toss it in front of the person giving it to you. On Facebook, you can HIDE a post, which essentially hides it from the public, but the person who posted it, still sees it. This might be an option if you suspect the person posting is a troll or it is a fake post created by a hater. We manage the social media customer service for a few hotels and this will happen when someone throws out a post about bedbugs and we look at the profile, only to see the account was created that day, there are no posts or photos, and we suspect it is a competitor or disgruntled employee. We first ask for the person to contact one of our managers to gather more information. When they don’t reply at all, we simply hide the post. If the post looks legit and it is from a real person, leaving it out in the open allows the public to see how you handle difficult situations. Do people not realize we all LOVE taking screen shots, adding scary music, and making a bigger scarier scene than it really is?

Once again, another company allows us all to heed the warnings without enduring the pain. Thank you Party City for the reminder. When was the last time you had the conversation about how to handle a negative post with your team? If you don’t have one, create a crisis plan and a solid process before you need it. Make sure every person who touches your social media channels, knows it and can perform the necessary actions if needed.

You can run and you can hide in the basement, but just like in the creepy vampire movies, the fans of social media will find you! May I suggest the sexy garlic costume?

hiding from social media fans is never a good plan


president of socialknx gina schreck


@GinaSchreck is not only a social media mom, but she is the president of SocialKNX, a digital and social marketing company. Helping you build your business and MANAGE THAT PRECIOUS BRAND!