Do you buy Nature Valley crunchy bars? We love them here at Lindop Towers.
But there’s trouble in the valley at the moment. Copywriter Anne Maybus of Clever Streak mentioned it this week in a Facebook group we both belong to. It’s scary stuff for anyone who uses social media to promote their business, which is why I wanted to tell you about it.
Around a week ago, a blogger accused Nature Valley of using genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in their products. She didn’t give any evidence for this at all, just mentioned it as fact. A comment was made on the Nature Valley Facebook page along the lines of “why do you use GMO products in your bars?” and since then a flood of negative comments have poured onto the Nature Valley Facebook page.Take a look here: www.facebook.com/naturevalley
I would like to give you links to the original blog post but I didn’t bookmark it and now there are so many comments on the Facebook page I can no longer get back to the original one.
Does Nature Valley use GMO ingredients? I have no idea, but a quick Google search suggests there’s not much hard evidence that they do.
Here’s what’s scary though: one accusation from a single blogger with zero evidence has caused complete chaos.
What’s more, Nature Valley have done absolutely nothing about it on their Facebook page.
I don’t think they are blissfully unaware of the chaos, because they’ve gone from posting almost daily to no posts at all since 1st December. Personally, I think they are doing nothing until they talk to their legal team. Understandable in the old pre-social media world, but these days a delay like this is causing untold damage to their brand.
What scares me most is how Facebook users have blindly believed this claim and not bothered to check the evidence. If it’s on the internet then it must be true, eh?
So what does this mean for those of us running far smaller businesses?
- Keep a close eye on your social media profiles.
- ‘Going viral’ is usually considered to be good for marketing, but it can also have its dark side. More on this next week in my review of the book The E-Factor: Entrepreneurship in the Social Media Age.
- You need to respond promptly to any comments on your social media profiles, especially negative ones.
- People have very short attention spans when they are online and many won’t bother to check the facts before taking action.
- Be careful when making claims about other companies on your blog. I wouldn’t want to be in the blogger’s shoes when the lawyers get on the case. Especially since Nature Valley is just a brand of General Mills, one of the largest food companies in the world.
I’ll be watching how this pans out with interest.
What are your thoughts on this? Please do leave me a comment.
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net