As some of you may know, I hail from a tiny town in Ireland – and so I keep up with the news there pretty regularly.

This morning, however, the brilliant Mark posted about the kerfuffle going on with the White Moose Cafe and their new video about a social media influencer (with a smaller following than theirs) who asked for a free stay at their hotel in exchange for a bit of promotion on her YouTube channel.

Now, I’m wanting to nail my colours to the mast here – because there are a few learning lessons to take away.

1. When it comes to fair exchange of goods/ services, you have to remember a couple of things. If researched correctly, and you actually HAVE something that the other party needs (more traffic/ warmer audience/ offer that meets the needs etc) then sure – go ahead and throw the opportunity out there.

2. If you DON’T do your research correctly – then you may miss key elements… such as the other party actually having more traffic than you do and thus declining your request.

3. Etiquette… If someone says no… respect their boundaries. Accept that it is a no and that they have a reason for declining.

4. Think about the way you want to be perceived by your following and/ or others online. In this instance, the White Moose cafe didn’t actually name the blogger involved. However, after they wrote about the experience on their Facebook page, the blogger took to social media to record a video about how malicious/ slanderous etc etc the White Moose Cafe was in DECLINING her request for a free visit. I don’t know about you – but for me, that’s a turn-off.

5. Treat others as you want to be treated. <— That one comes from my parents. But seriously – if you want people to pay you for an experience/ product or service, please use those same rules in your own business. Also… manners cost nothing.

6. Sense of humour. Sometimes we ALL screw up. I’ve done it many times. But if you do, have a sense of humour about the situation – and apologise gracefully. Rather than starting a hate campaign, the blogger concerned would have received much more positive feedback for going to the thread directly and saying something like;

‘Dear Paul.

Thanks for letting me know about the mistakes I made in trying to get a free stay at your hotel.

It was a cheeky request – but sometimes hotels are kind enough to offer us a free stay in return for a great review and some extra traffic coming their way!

Thanks for the reminder to do my research in future – and cheers for the publicity – maybe we can both get some use out of this PR eh?! ”

Being open, honest and transparent – and addressing the situation in a cool way, will help you manage any damaging PR messes with minimal impact to your brand. And could potentially bring you a new pal or two in the process!

I’d love to hear your thoughts on social media etiquette… and I’ve popped the link to the story too!