This past week Samy and Amy Bouzaglo of Amys Baking Company have shown us how social media affects business negatively when handled in the wrong way.
If you didn’t know Amy’s Baking Company was recently featured on Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares Series.
Now anyone who watches that show knows how it goes down, but this time things were different. This time it featured Samy & Amy Bouzaglo.
You really need to watch the full episode to appreciate the mindset of the couple. Here is the full episode-
Really you should watch the full thing – it is shocking how delusional Amy is throughout. They even take all of the tips off the staff and pocket it for themselves!
That girl got them crazy eyes!
It’s not all on Amy though, Samy is just as bad verbally threatening customers, making physical threats and acting aggressively.
Then someone let them loose on social media.
How Amys Baking Company Destroyed Their Business On Facebook
I hope you are ready for what has been described as the most epic meltdown on Facebook ever.
It’s not often we get to see the real world social media impact on business & if it is handled in the wrong way how social media affects business negatively.
Things start with a nice message showing the couples strength, was kinda cute!
But as seen in the show – she isn’t all that great at taking criticism =/
People gave the couple flack because they were buying things from Walmart and then reselling them to customers as if they made them themselves.
Amy even lied to Gordon Ramsay about making the cakes herself. Which she was super proud of.
Then of course the Reddit community got hold of the story. You can probably guess how it goes from here.
Samy takes over the updates for a while and starts to threaten legal action =\
Followed by his own series of threats…
Luckily they aren’t freaking out about it at all.
If you have ever wanted to know what a meal cooked by Wonder Woman would taste like, today is your lucky day!
Oh I forgot to mention Amy has 3 kids and by kids, I mean 3 cats that are her whole life between her husband and her business.
Turns out we don’t actually know Wonder Woman’s identity after all )=
It is good to see that Amy and Samy are seeing the funny side though!
She is right, it’s way past my bed time!
The Best Comment Awards Goes To…
Out of all of the comments from Amys Baking Company though – this one is the clear winner.
I hope you’re sitting down for this.
The Morning After The Night Before
Ever woken up in a hazey blur and thought – ahhhhh f***.
That’s exactly what Amy and Samy of Amy’s baking company did on Tuesday morning.
OBVIOUSLY THE HACKERS THE DID IT – DUHHH!!!
A Fresh Start With A New Page
Samy and Amy went onto setup a second Facebook page to try and recover from the damage of the ‘hackers’.
Users were met with a warm reception-
And within moments meltdown round 2 begins – ooops I mean the ‘hackers’ took over again-
Seems they never learn…
Stealing Food Photos
They also got caught out posting pictures of food they had stolen from other websites and claiming them as their own.
It became a race on their photo albums to see who could reverse engineer the original image location for each photo first.
They have a great explanation for how that happened though-
That’s how the internet works by the way if you didn’t know.
The Internet Fights Back
As you can imagine the response online has skyrocketed.
We have had everything from meme’s (more of these at the end of the post)
All the way through to a psychological analysis.
Greg Taylor posted his first-hand experience at the restaurant when the cameras were rolling.
Even the restaurant’s previous health violations are coming to light.
Not that the reviews on Yelp were doing them any favours anyway.
Oh and let’s not forget the government petition to investigate them for the illegal stealing of tips.
But none of this is new really, it’s all been going on since 2010.
Do You Feel Bad For Them?
To be honest the backlash they have faced is pretty terrible.
You can’t help but feel sorry for them in a way.
What the couple fail to realise is that Reddit is actually an intelligent community & most of the people that use it are well educated people with specialist skilled jobs in technology, networks & the internet…
Certainly not the type of people good enough to lick their, or their friends boots though…
Measuring The Viral Effect
It’s not all doom and gloom though, the couple have seen a huge boom in popularity across the web.
Check out this snap from Google Trends-
According to Alexa their website has also seen a 20,000% increase in traffic in the last month
They also managed to add over 70,000 organic likes to their main Facebook page.
Granted all of this was born out of bad publicity – but they now have the perfect foundation to capitalise on.
What Should They Do?
Now is the perfect time to ride that PR wave to success.
First things first though they need to repair the damage they have done. The best way of doing so, especially with the blogosphere is to be totally honest and upfront with people.
A heartfelt transparent apology explaining the actions and stresses the couple were under would go down very well right about now and allow them to begin rebuilding rapport with people.
But before doing that they should get someone to rebuild the website with conversion and value in mind. Capture user data & leverage the social media success to build vast social signals to the site.
Give the blog a quick overhaul, publish the apology and hey presto – a whole new load of viral traffic will arrive to capitalise on
To really repair the relationship with bloggers they should host a bloggers only night where likeminded people could meet and engage with each other in a relaxed atmosphere with great food.
For the most part bloggers are straight down the line and honest. If they have a fantastic night dining and sharing knowledge with other bloggers – they’ll tell the world about it.
I wish somewhere local to me had a similar night every month! Hmmm.
I know they already have a relaunch planned but you have to apply to be invited via a PR firm. That means anything produced is going to be fully controlled and as such biased.
They should host a night specifically for repairing damage with the wider internet community that will offer a true reflection of the improvements they have made. In essence they are in control and responsible for any feedback received, good or bad.
Throughout all of this though there are quite a few important lessons for us all to learn.
Social Media Is A 2 Way Street
A lot of businesses struggle with social media and just don’t get it. Having the ability to interact with customers in an instant and personal way really does baffle the business world.
Social media provides a fantastic opportunity to build engagement, trust and relationships with people who in turn influence other people.
But this is a 2 way street, while it is a fantastic tool to engage your target audience directly – it is also the perfect weapon to destroy your business and its reputation. Especially if you’re crazy.
Criticism Is Opportunity
Amys Baking Company clearly has a hard time dealing with negative feedback to the point everyone around her protects her from it.
But criticism is just an opportunity to improve. An opportunity to improve & be better at what you do today than you were yesterday.
I look at failure in the same way. If you fail at something, next time you are much more likely to succeed due to the first hand lessons learnt.
External criticism is exactly the same – except it is other people telling you how to reach further success.
Ask For Criticism & Feedback
I actively ask for criticism & feedback from my readers. This feedback has helped shape the blog in a big way.
Everything from the design, how things are laid out, the content I write, how I write it and the types of things I focus on.
All of this is driven from the user feedback & criticism I get. If I get an email with some criticism I try to explore that with the reader to get a deeper understanding to build upon.
I send out this email as part of my auto responder series-
That one gets some very interesting responses and I have being able to improve the user experience off the back of it!
Readers love it when you actually listen to what they have to say & then actually act on it.
I also send out this email-
I’m essentially asking my audience what they want, and then I give it to them.
A lot of the tutorials posted across the last 2-3 months have come off the back of user requests. These are also some of the most popular tutorials.
Don’t Insult People & Lie
Remember the bit about social media been a 2 way street? If you start abusing people, typing in angry caps locks & telling blatant lies you are asking for it.
Some of the things that Amy and Samy have said to potential customers is disgusting. Imagine asking a restaurant if you could have a reservation and being told ‘WE DONT LET S***** b****** LIKE YOU HERE’.
Doing things like that in public is always going to spark a reaction.
Even if that comment wasn’t aimed at you, anyone reading that instantly has a negative association with Amys Baking Company. One that they will share with their friends, people still actually talk in real you know!
To then go on and claim they were hacked was just kicking people when they were down. The lie was so transparent especially when they used the same tone on the second page that wasn’t ‘hacked’.
The most stupid lie though has to be when Samy claimed the pictures they were posting was of their food and they hadn’t stolen them. I’m going to post his explanation here again because it was just that stupid.
Can you believe even after that they are still posting stolen images & claiming they are of their food.
Own Your Mistakes
Each and every time the couple have insulted someone, received criticism or been caught out with something they have just ignored it or opened up a different line of attack.
At no point have they actually stopped, took 60 seconds to step back, think about what has said, process it and then respond appropriately.
Instead of owning their mistakes they just go on the attack – it’s borderline childish behaviour but we all make mistakes right?
Just step up to the plate and admit when you’re wrong – you’ll get a much warmer reception than going on the attack or trying to cover up lies with lies.
Never Marry A Crazy!
If there is one thing we should all learn though it is that you should never marry a crazy, no matter how much younger and better looking they are.
Samy fronts the money to keep the failing business afloat and without him Amys Baking Company wouldn’t exist.
Hats off to Samy you are a brave man – he is the real hero here!
How To Deal With Social Media Criticism
A while back I made a tutorial called how not to launch a website featuring UK mobile provider Everything Everywhere.
Since they launched in the UK they have had huge amounts of flack to the point every single one of my friends have had issues with them.
This has quickly led them to be dubbed as ‘Nothing Nowhere’ – check out some of the feedback they get on Facebook.
They literally get a few pieces of crippling feedback posted every hour. People consistently claim of misselling, having no signal, poor customer service, arrogant management & the general unwillingness to resolve issues.
Nothing Nowhere (Everything Everywhere) have really made a mess of their launch in the UK – but notice how they aren’t having a meltdown over it?
Even though they know they suck and are clearly having serious companywide issues they focus on the root problems and ignore everything else.
Granted its usually the same dreary bland response and from what I can gather customers still don’t actually get any help but it helps to maintain order.
It’s pretty hard to troll someone that doesn’t take the bait. Amy fuelled her own fire with how she dealt with social media criticism and although Nothing Nowhere aren’t perfect, they are doing a good job of managing things online.
Extra respect to them for not deleting the bad feedback and keeping things honest and open!
I bet those pesky hackers are to blame for the poor performance of the network though. For sure.
They Aren’t The Only Ones
Abercrombie & Fitch have also managed to destroy their brand overnight with a single interview.
CEO Mike Jeffries gave an interview to Salon Magazine way back in 2006. He was asked why they refuse to make clothes for larger women, his response-
“In every school there are cool and popular kids, and then there are the not-so-cool kids. We go after the cool kids. We go after the attractive all-American kid with a great attitude and a lot of friends. A lot of people don’t belong in our clothes and they can’t belong. Are we exclusionary? Absolutely.”
Now 7 years ago that was pretty offensive, but in today’s world of backwards political correctness it has caused a storm.
It is only the last couple of weeks that social media and the blogosphere has gotten hold of this.
Comments from 7 years ago now appear to be fresh and new from the company which is causing them a little bit of a headache.
Benjamin O’Keefe created a government petition against the company.
There is even going to be a full on protest in the streets of Chicago.
All of this is born out of comments from 7 years ago that the social media world have circulated the past week.
Talk about a big fat mistake!
Notice how companies that exclusively make clothes for larger women and exclude skinny women don’t get the same treatment though?
Amy To The Rescue!
There is no doubt that the meltdown of Amy Bouzaglo & Amys Baking Company this week might have broken the fall of Abercrombie & Fitch.
The blogosphere, social media crowd and media in general have firmly had their attention on Amy as the story has developed throughout the week.
Without that girl things could have gotten a lot worse for Abercrombie & Fitch.
You should fatten her up and put her in an advert to say thank you.