Most companies have realized that digital communications and social media tools are here to stay. They accept that they will need to embrace online strategies or go the way of the dodo, but many are still scared. Can you really blame them? I can’t. No matter how succinct a company’s launch into social media may be, it’s unlikely they will completely avoid negative comments or haters of their brand. But this is not necessarily a bad thing. Negative comments or feelings can go a long way to actually help a company move forward with a successful social media program.
I recently worked with a client to launch a new product using a number of social media channels. Part of their program involved seeding content on content sharing and community based sites. On some sites, the content was rather well received, and got positive reactions from bloggers and online media. On others, however, the content did not meet the standards of the community members. They felt the content provided too little value and made sure they told us so. Confronted by negative feelings, we had to act fast to address their concerns.
We wrote a response thanking those who had spoken up for their feedback. Negative feedback is just as useful as positive.
We then wrote direct messages to the specific members who were most vocal, asking them for more input: What kind of content would they like to see? What questions (if any) did they have that we might be able to answer? Would they be willing to discuss industry topics in greater depth to help develop content that would provide real value to their community?
Unfortunately the community members didn’t continue to engage with us after their initial round of commenting. However, we learned some really valuable information about the community and industry. This community site is absolutely one we want to work with going forward. Even though their comments were negative, they are engaged and passionate.
No brand is hater free. Negative comments are always a strong possibility. It’s what you do with them and how you learn from them that will decide if your social media campaign will flourish or fall flat. Social media is social – good or bad, all comments count!
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