Disaster can strike at any time, any place, and anywhere. Are you prepared for the communications fallout of unexpected adverse actions?

Imagine for a moment if you will, a successfully run lead generation campaign with paid advertising support. All metrics pointing to a successfully executed event. Polished powerpoint slides, well coordinated promotional campaign, organic data from leads… captured. Now all we have to do is present.

photograph courtesy of Mike Bramucci; Advanced Tree Care

Excitedly, I login to lead a presentation of existing clients, known prospects and even a few new faces. We get started, only to have the standard screenshare behavior, talking in the background, dogs barking, etc… As I go through and mute those folks, a loud stereo cannot be muted… flustered, I continue my attempts. Rapidly, I scramble to close out the stereo, only to realize something isn’t right. As my pulse quickens, I slowly realize to my horror we’re being attacked. Graphic content displayed not only on an individual screen, but then shared for all to see. Absolute horror… Fortunately, it wasn’t a security breach, simply some overzealous sharing of our event link and a few bad actors.

In my haste to expand the audience of attendees, I shared the Google Meets invite link openly on social media. It is my guess that open sharing of that private meeting link was the cause of the intrusion. What a Bummer?!

Our promo efforts included event listings on Facebook and LinkedIn, eNotice promotion, FB, LinkedIn & IG story videos as well as paid promotion targeted at small business owners on Facebook and LinkedIn. There was a steady stream of registrants for our Free Seminar across existing clients, known prospects, and new contacts we haven’t worked with before. Some folks in attendance were experiencing JRS Mar/Com for the first time… needless to say, we didn’t put our best… er, foot, forward?

Paid ads promoting our seminar were taken out for 30 days prior to the event. We had 30 registrants when disaster struck.

I am still in awe at my response, in following up with some of the attendees, numerous folks commented on the calm handling of the intrusion. I cannot understand where the calm came from, but I’m glad that it surfaced. It would not have been my bet for, ‘How would Joe respond?’ to such a thing.

After concluding the presentation, I took a few deep breaths and reached out to a few of the attendees to ask them, ‘How bad was it?’ A mix of ‘not bad’, ‘you couldn’t do anything about it’, and ‘you handled it as best you could’ told me how bad it really was.

I immediately began thinking about how I could address the issue and came up with the following approach:

  • IG Story share
  • Apology Email to Attendees
  • Blog article (you’re reading now)
  • Open sharing of the incident in person
  • Distribution of Blog article in future E-Notice (keep your eyes out for February)

Our hope is the attention we draw to the event demonstrates that even when things appear to be going right, they can change quickly. How you respond and the expectations of your customer base have changed dramatically. Don’t isolate in seclusion, open up and let people know how you learned from the event. In the end, we can all identify with having a bad day. Our hope is that it allows for a more human connection and at the end of the day, who couldn’t use more of that these days.

What I must have looked like as it dawned on me that our Social Media For Lead Generation presentation was being taken over by graphic content.

Moving forward, we’ll be using our paid subscription tool for all screenshares to ensure uninterrupted delivery of our content to those who have signed up and committed their time participate. I’m sure this won’t be our last stumble, but we’ll continue learning from them and making the best of them.