Perhaps you’ve experienced something similar already during a social media campaign. You follow up on a notification/mention on social media and under your advertising/message, someone has posted “Your company sucks” (or much worse). What do you do now?
With the anonymity that is possible on Social Media channels it is hard to know the intentions of people. After all the person behind @Cookydestroyer3000 could be anyone. When you break it down you really are left with only two options: To respond to the message, or not to respond.
Both options have pros and cons. Let’s go through the 2 situations:
Not responding to a negative comment also means you don’t give it more attention than it deserves. If the person on the other side is looking to upset you: all they are after is a reaction from you so they can attack you further.
On the downside, anyone who sees your content also gets to see the negative comments. This might inspire fellow "internet trolls" to get on the bandwagon and join the corporate bashing. On top of that, you might come across as someone who doesn't care about their clients or their reputation.
Responding can put you back in control. It can also mercilessly backfire and cause even more harm. It all comes down to finding an appropriate response.
Let’s start with how NOT to respond: DON’T! go on the defensive. Don’t stoop to insulting back. This is exactly the type of reaction the person insulting your brand was hoping for, and it would leave you with a communications disaster. The saying "any publicity, is good publicity" is a bold-faced lie and could really harm your business. The best example of this would be Amy’s Baking Company. Short version: On the plus side, they managed to attract over 100.000 followers. On the negative side, they all hated their guts. In the meantime the place went bankrupt.
So how do you respond?
- Thank them for the reaction
- apologise for the inconvenience
- encourage them to continue the conversation privately
A lot depends on your corporate culture. But if there is some leniency: use humour and embrace the person insulting you. Don’t consider the person on the other side an enemy but a person you want to befriend. An excellent example of how you do that might be right in your pocket right now. Your smartphone.
The reactions of the virtual smartphone assistants Siri on apple’s iPhone or Bixby on the Samsung smartphones are an excellent example of how to take the aggressiveness out of a situation and turn it into a positive experience. A little bit of humour and good will can go a long way. So what would be my advice if someone, out of nowhere, says your brand sucks?
"Thank you for your feedback, sorry you had such a bad experience, PM us and we’re sure we’ll be able to turn that experience around."
How fast should you respond? The quicker the better. Your customers expect a response within 60 minutes of the initial reaction. The faster you respond, the better you’ll look in the eyes of the social media community.
General Manager duomedia