Whether you like it or not, whether your business is ready or not, you and/or your brand ARE on social media. If you disagree, just upset a customer and they have the power to instantaneously make you infamous on Twitter or a multitude of other public platforms with massive daily viewership. And like that… BOOM, you’re on social media!
Human beings spend more time interacting on social media sites than doing anything else on the Internet. You better believe that at some point, your brand will be mentioned. And remember that if you’re not in the game, you have no say in how the conversation goes… You stand no chance in trying to tell your side of the story… No shot at correcting the record or righting a wrong, depending on what really happened.
Yes, welcome to a world where we can’t hide the bad and only show the good… it’s all out there on social, and the way this game is played is much different from what businesses and marketers have grown accustomed to.
Brands Avoid Social for All the Wrong Reasons
I know many business owners who have avoided social media like the plague, because “OMG, someone might say something bad about us!” While this is true, it’s a terrible reason to stay off of social. In fact, this is exactly why you need to be there.
Turning Disaster into Big Wins
While dealing with criticism of your brand that’s put out there for everyone and their brother to see is uncomfortable, let’s face the facts – at some point, someone will say something less than exuberant about your brand. Couple this with the fact that turtling up and pretending it will go away is not a best practice in either PR or customer service.
Time to Shine
The funny thing about addressing negative comments is that, when handled with integrity, they nearly always ends up as a net win for the brand. Consumers tend to be pretty forgiving about an initial mistake, as long as empathy and great customer service is employed. Negative social feedback is almost like a public exhibition for your brand. What better attribute to showcase than great and understanding service that turns a wrong into a right.
So address your complaints head on. Listen, acknowledge, apologize and do what it takes to satisfy the situation. Remember, you’re on stage and even if you’re eating the cost in a single instance, you’re investing in your brand for the long haul, as most everyone has an affinity for a company that takes care of their customers.
Still Not Buying It? Get a Rope!
Here’s a story that got huge buzz recently, as it broke on the Huffington Post. A well-known brand, Pace Picante Salsa (owned by the Campbell Soup Company) got lambasted by comedian (and my high school classmate, nevertheless) Kyle Kinane and was made to look the fool on Twitter. It turns out that this was all actually a hoax, and the joke really was on Kinane. But Pace still suffered getting dragged through the mud, as the butt of the joke in top news headlines and never had a chance to squash it since they’re not on Twitter, and had no voice in all of this.