No brand or company, no matter how outstanding, is immune to the possibility of negative social media. The world of social media provides a great opportunity to connect with people and engage new audiences, but it also gives disgruntled people a whole new way to vent their frustrations on a public forum. How can you handle your PR strategy in a setting where with just one click, someone can vent anything they wish?
Be where customers are. The first rule of thumb for having a social media presence is to actually be present. Some social media pages even have 24/7 monitoring to respond to comments almost immediately; these companies enjoy the best social media has to offer and generally have the most stellar reputations. If you’re not monitoring your social media presence regularly, you’re allowing negative comments to go unchecked and will only frustrate people more.
Show you care. If negative comments come up on a public forum, respond to them on that same forum as quickly as possible. This shows any bystanders that you’re engaged and that what people think and say about your company matters to you.
Cover all bases. With so many blogs, fan pages, and social media outlets, it’s hard to keep track of who’s saying what about your business. Sites such as Brandwatch Social Media Monitoring help keep things straight by using keywords to track conversations, tweets, YouTube videos, and more. For a more comprehensive listing of social media monitoring sites, visit this link.
Don’t ignore negativity. While it may be tempting to hide under the covers if negative tweets come knocking, it’s best to respond quickly. Do what you can to resolve the issue and get the unhappy person back on your side. Ignoring negative comments is the worst thing a business can do.
At MarCom, we’ve followed these guidelines on behalf of our clients with rigor, and have found that we can often turn a negative situation into a very positive one. For example, a job candidate contacted a local branch of one of our staffing clients and never received a call back, a fact he then tweeted. Thanks to ongoing monitoring of our clients’ social media outlets, the company was able to identify the cause of the mishap – transposed numbers on a phone message. So the staffing office had been trying to return the job candidate’s call but was dialing the wrong number. The company subsequently responded to his tweet, spoke to him personally, and soon after found him a great job. Which he then glowingly tweeted about!
No business can prevent negative comments on social media, but that’s okay. With some solid monitoring, prompt responses, and a good attitude, disgruntled people may end up being your most loyal advocates. Negative comments aren’t a curse; they’re a way to show the world how engaged you are and keep existing customers coming back.
By Debbie Clark, Managing Partner, MarCom