Friends off

Dear Naughty Monkey,

I’m afraid this is the end of the road for us.

It’s been quite a ride, really. I first learned of you several years ago when my friend Jill extolled your virtues on the internet discussion board where we met. I bought a pair of Live Wires off ebay. I was especially drawn to them because Live Wire is also the name of my all-time favourite Motley Crue song.

Every time a pair of shoes or boots was delivered to my door, I let out a little squeal and shared my joy by posting pictures of my new prizes to Facebook and Twitter. Several friends were turned over to your brand as a result.

Your style was fun, colourful and yet wearable for the everyday professional.

Over the last few years, I have amassed quite the collection of Naughty Monkey footwear, even drifting over to your sister brand Not Rated for a couple of times.

Engaging with your social media accounts was enjoyable. I even won a pair of red Emerald City pumps during a Valentine’s Day promotion in 2011.

That ended this week.

Sadly.

I sent the following email to your brand director and marketing director earlier this week:

First, let me introduce myself by saying I have been a loyal customer of Naughty Monkey shoes for several years. I have been a brand advocate, turning several of my friends onto the name and ensuring they engaged with your social media accounts.

I was a bit taken aback this afternoon when your social media representative posted on your Facebook timeline what I thought was a whiny post about the new Facebook timeline. She found it ‘soooooo confusing.’ I posted a couple of links to help her out.

I have been involved with social media for several years. I was the social media strategist for a national telecommunications company in Canada. I kind of know a thing or two about Facebook and the timeline, especially that the timeline for brands has been known since last September. This timeline thing should not be taking anyone by surprise or confusing them.

I posted to my Twitter account that I found it funny Naughty Monkey would be ‘whining’ about the Facebook timeline publicly when it’s likely the reason the person has a job. Harsh? Maybe so. But I like to expect bigger things from people in my own industry of marketing and communications. A conversation with your social media representative ensued. She has since deleted not only the Facebook post but her Twitter replies to me as well.

You can see her replies to me here:

You can see my end of the conversation here:

One of the first rules of social media marketing and engagement is to be yourself. The message I received from Naughty Monkey today is that it is snarky and flippant. And while I — of all people — respect the ability to be snarky and flippant, I sure don’t expect it from the brands I follow. Instead, I expect a level of professionalism and an ability to be ahead of the trends, not to be so confused by them.

You may not agree with my perspective on the matter. That’s OK. That’s what opinions are all about. For now, however, Naughty Monkey has lost one of its biggest champions in Canada. 

I received a reply this afternoon.

Dear Angela,

I thank you for bringing this matter to my attention. Your email to Jay was probably not answered in a timely manner because  a group of us were traveling overseas and our internet access was inconsistent.

Now for the issue at hand, I will bring it up to our social media person. It is not our intention to insult our fans who have helped us get to where we are. The continued support of our fans whether they be big or small matters to us and losing a brand supporters like yourself hurts no less.

Regards,
Ismael “Mike” Cortez
Marketing Director
Naughty Monkey

I think Mike gets it. I thanked him and let him know I thought it should be of great concern that his social media person deletes her comments in an attempt to cover her tracks.

Many of of my friends know this goes against the very grain of the authenticity and transparency that social media represents.

Oddly enough, in a completely unrelated incident, my friend Chelsea — whom I’m assuming knew nothing of my interactions on Tuesday — addressed the Naughty Monkey Twitter account with a language error in one of her Tweets.

Chelsea — smart, beautiful, creative, ambitious and destined to rule the world — received this Tweet in response:

When Chelsea, another professional trained and experienced in corporate use of social media, called the account out for being snide, the Tweet was deleted.

Now some of you may see this as a whole lot of nothing, but it does speak to the importance of ensuring the tone and voice a company wants to express to its followers and fans.

I will always take issue with corporate accounts that designate the content to someone who has a tenuous grasp on the English language.

And I will always take issue with corporate accounts handled by people who see everything as a big haha, no matter how flippant or snarky I can be on my personal feeds.

Companies need to aim higher, no matter how small or large they are.

And they sure as heck need to be better prepared (and trained) to handle negative feedback.

That being said, I’ve looked at the new spring line for Naughty Monkey. I’ve realized I’m no longer your target demographic. That has nothing to do with my age but more with my fashion sense.

If anyone is a Snooki wannabe, however, I do suggest checking out the new styles.

And yeah … meow.

Yours in footwear,

Angela

24 thoughts on “Friends off

  1. Sara says:

    When shoe companies go BANANAS. Their comments were snide and uncalled for especially toward Chelsea. I do appreciate the Marketing Director’s response but at this point, too little too late.

    • thatangela says:

      Agreed. The gal really needs some training in handling negative feedback. Hell, companies should entire policy manuals written on the topic.

      I remember the other gal’s name now. She was Veronica and she was wonderful at handling the Twitter and Facebook accounts. I miss her.

  2. Sara says:

    The unprofessionalism of the social media person representing Naughty Monkey is appalling. Utterly. They seem written by a gum-chewing 17-year old who has no ability to accept professional/constructive criticism. The “snappy” comebacks are rude and, were it my employee acting as the online ambassador for my company, I would fire that person so quickly that they’d forget they even had a job in the first place. Customer-facing social media is NEVER the correct venue to show attitude, flaunt one’s individual personality, or get into quibbles with consumers (e.g., the people who pay your damned salary). When posting on Facebook, Twitter, or any other online site as an employee, your voice/opinions are unimportant and irrelevant; all that matters is promoting your brand. If you want to be a little bitch about it, go back to your Livejournal page. Of course, I’m a cranky old woman who loathes mouthy youngsters and wears sensible and gorgeously-constructed ballet flats almost exclusively, but then, maybe Naughty Monkey’s marketing department could use a few pointers from Tieks.

    • thatangela says:

      Thanks for your feedback, ‘Chris.’ I don’t believe you understand the importance of how brands present themselves on the internet or anywhere, for that matter. That’s OK. I’m sure you aren’t the only Naughty Monkey fan displeased with this review and I welcome their feedback, too. I hope it’s a lovely day in Vancouver!

    • A branding and social media professional writing about branding and social media in her blog seems pretty rational to me. Spending time and energy on writing malicious comments on a stranger’s blog seems a little less so.

  3. I just can’t help but think I’d NEVER say things like that on a page I admin. I’ve had to deal with unhappy fans, which was awful, but A) I can’t see whining about Facebook on a brand account and B) I hope I handle complaints/criticism better than that. Also, I don’t get what complaining with your brand’s voice is intended to accomplish.

    Want to complain about the timeline? Go for it. On your personal account. I’m truly baffled that any PR/Marketing professional would think that those comments are what their company needs projected as its official stance.

    • thatangela says:

      That’s just it, Audrey. When I was the SM strategist for my former company, I jumped on the Facebook timeline change right away and wrote a white paper of recommendations on how to move forth. That was last September. Anyone handling the social media for any brand should have been well prepared for the change and I thought it was incredibly unprofessional to see complaining about it. I posted a couple of links to help her out and I can only imagine that the reaction was something along the lines of ‘reading? but it’s sooooooo hard! lol haha byebye.’

  4. This is a perfect example of why businesses need to start taking social media seriously. When I follow a company’s twitter feed I expect it to be at the same level as their printed, online, or TV marketing materials. Social media accounts need to be directed by marketing professionals who have an understanding of the medium and the brand voice: not by a junior employee (as seems to be the case with this company). I don’t see any difference between an error in a twitter feed from an error in a printed catalogue or TV ad. I doubt Naughty Monkey would let this individual represent their brand on TV or in a magazine interview: so hopefully this serves a reminder that social media is just as important.

    • thatangela says:

      I have great respect for the way Naughty Monkey moved into the social media world. They lost a lot of viral exposure potential when Sarah Palin wore a pair of Double Dares the night she was introduced as John McCain’s running mate in 2008. Mike, the gentleman quoted in my piece, recognized the need to be in this space and Naughty Monkey launched a terrific campaign, getting shoe owners to post pictures of where their Naughty Monkeys have been. I had been with them since those days but I thought the accounts had really gotten off track with all of the OMGs and ‘i lovvveeeeee them’. WTF does that even mean?

      Incidentally, I have that pair of shoes in black.

  5. Melissa says:

    Wow had to skip through this. Followed you a while now but your constant complaint is growing old. You get what you give. You started the entire fight then fought more about it. I see your points but you stooped pretty low with this lengthy rant about nothing. It’s twitter move on with your life. Lost a fan, M

    • thatangela says:

      Hi Melissa, thanks for your feedback! I’m sorry you think that my outlook on the world is negative. It’s really not as you can see in the pages on this blog. I do, however, think it’s important for brands to consider how they present themselves on public-facing media. Hope it’s a lovely day in L.A.!

  6. This is exactly why we have “super admins” looking at every tweet, every Facebook posts and whatnot for our big social media clients. Even if they have their own employees tweeting, we make sure the tweets are warranted and concise before they go out to the interwebs. One tweeted response may involve up to three people, depending on what it’s regarding. When negative feedback is received, you can bet the tweeted replies are looked over carefully, just like you would answer a client’s email.
    Hopefully they learn from this in how they handle their social media.

    It’s so easy to put your foot in your mouth on twitter/facebook and deleting your post may not always save you face. 😉

    • thatangela says:

      Hey Tayana, thanks for the comment. I’m not sure how I feel about vetted Tweets since it takes away from organic engagement but, on the one hand, it’s probably a good idea when you’re considering your company’s representation. It’s probably a necessary evil and likely we’ll be seeing more of it as the oil and gas companies move into the social media space.

  7. Madison says:

    I actually saw the naughty monkey replies to yours and Chelsea’s and couldn’t believe that she was replying like that. I always loved that they replied when I would post a picture of a new pair of shoes or retweet it but the fact that they replied in such a rude way on two separate occasions is wrong. Also I agree a lot of the shoes are looking more “whorish” than they used to.

  8. As a community manager myself, and an adviser to other community managers, I’ve seen the worst from users. That doesn’t matter. There’s really only one rule – be diplomatic or, if you prefer, be ambassadorial. Leave the edgy, wise-cracking stuff to happy conversations if at all. Trouble is, what one person thinks is funny/edgy, the next finds offensive and its nigh on impossible to predict.

    The Naughty Monkey rep came off as juvenile and arrogant. There’s never any call for that. Bad chimp – no bananas for you.

    • thatangela says:

      Hey Doug,

      Thanks for the input. You’re one of my favourite gurus entrepreneurs in the social media space so I was really hoping for your feedback.

  9. Melissa says:

    I saw the entire thing play out as well and Angela asked for it telling the person she would have no job without Facebook. I’m tired of negative people digging for problems, finding them and then complaining more. You are part of the problem and keep it going sad you are so blind

    • thatangela says:

      Hey Melissa,

      Thanks for coming back. You appear to have taken my point about Facebook and the job out of context. That’s OK. This stuff happens. I think it’s time you move on, though, since you’re so tired of this. Have a wonderful day!

  10. Melissa says:

    You also did not include your or Chelsea’s original comments to them. I’m not on either side however if you posted the full story her replies are understandable. If someone told me I would have no job or that they were “UNFOLLOWING” me because of an apostrophe I would be confused also. Life’s too short girls. Y’all must not have children. How I wish I had the time to care about such small incidents.

    • thatangela says:

      Yet you have the time to keep coming back and tell me how little you care? In truth, my original comment is in the screen capture that was not only included in my email to Mike Cortez but is also in the blog post that you said in your first comment you had to “skip through.” Again, Melissa, I think it’s time for you to move on. But thanks for stopping by.

      If you feel you must comment again, please ensure it’s on the topic of appropriate brand messaging, instead of leveling juvenile personal attacks.

      • Sara says:

        Have kids, Angela, and you, too, can be self-righteous. That’s what I did, and now I can use ad hominem attacks freely!

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