Opinions


What to do if ESPN Calls Out Your Business

July 7, 2014

Most HVACR contractors have seen an online review about their company they did not agree was accurate. There are ways to deal with that situation such as contacting the poster or responding to the review on the same website.

But, what if someone with 476,000 Twitter followers and a blog on espn.com called out your business on social media for an air conditioning system not working? And did I mention that you have never serviced or installed that system?

Welcome to the world of Dale Blasingame, who is the social media director of Champion AC in San Antonio. He was just one of many San Antonio residents enjoying Game 1 of the NBA Finals between the San Antonio Spurs and the Miami Heat when the air conditioning system of the Spurs’ AT&T Center decided to take the night off. And, while other viewers were concerned about how this would affect the outcome of the game or were finding amusement watching those in attendance use anything available as a fan, Dale was getting a bit concerned.

You see, Champion AC is an official sponsor of the San Antonio Spurs. As such, the company’s signs stating that they keep the coyote cool are plastered all around the arena. However, they are a mostly residential business and not responsible for the AT&T Center’s air conditioning systems. But Dale was worried that fans and viewers would not recognize that distinction… and he was right.

The intitial reaction on social media was slow and light hearted until ESPN sports business reporter and ABC News correspondent Darren Rovell tweeted — “Not enjoying the last couple minutes of the NBA Finals: Champion AC, the official air conditioning sponsor of the Spurs.”

But Blasingame was on top of it and responded back to Rovell explaining that they are just a sponsor of the Spurs and not the provider. About an hour later Rovell used the company’s Twitter handle and stated that Champion AC was not the official provider.  He also eventually tweeted out one of their ads.

That is when things got a bit crazy for Dale. Twitter messages were coming in fast and furious — the vast majority of which were positive. Save for a few vulgar comments, Dale stayed up four hours after the game ended to make sure he responded to every Tweet that came his way.

Ironically enough, the problem was electrical in nature, so no HVACR company was to blame.

Social Media Strategy

Some HVAC companies that do not manage their social media well might have just let this fester because they were unaware of the comments. In the social media world, items can gain traction fast, and once that snowball is rolling down the hill it is difficult to stop. Champion AC did everything right, and, in the end, this crazy series of events equated into a net positive for them.

They even wrote a tongue-in-cheek blog about it in the days following to benefit even more from the unexpected exposure. Dale was quick to point out that if the Heat had won instead of the Spurs, perhaps the Tweets would have been a bit angrier.

The fact that the company took the time to respond to every Tweet means hundreds of people had a positive interaction with the company within about a four-hour period. How many marketing dollars is that worth?

It is important to keep a level head in these situations and to keep telling yourself that the truth will eventually come out. It is also imperative that you have someone dedicated to social media so you can stay on top of these situations as they arise.

Champion AC realized both and the company picked up a few more fans, and possibly some business, by being attentive on social media.

 Publication date: 7/7/2014 

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