Social media marketing campaign is becoming a most popular and useful marketing option for business. It is also readily apparent that social media is here to stay, and that is will prove to be ever more effective for worldwide users/proponents around the world.
With most of the world in some way involved with social media, the possibilities for people and businesses to connect are endless. However, with this constant exposure and constant interaction, negative publicity and feedback is bound to happen. Here is some vital information for dealing with what may for some be a new frontier in communications.
Understanding the Types of Negative Feedback
There are several different types of negative feedback that occur online throughout social media. Before we as marketers or public relations specialists can properly handle negative feedback concerning our company, product, or brand, we must identify what type of feedback we’re dealing with. Each type of negative feedback requires a different kind of response and should, therefore, be carefully examined before it is dealt with.
- Genuine Issues: Negative feedback that pops up on social networks and media outlets that expose genuine concerns and issues with your product, company, or business can actually be extremely useful and helpful for PR efforts. If a consumer leaves a comment calmly and evenly explaining an issue they have had with the subject at hand, this is known as a “genuine issue or problem” feedback. Consumers are writing in a way that communicates that they like your product or business, but that they have x and y issues with it. These issues are typically things that are not unknown to the company or marketing agency. The key to this type of feedback is that the consumer delivers their negative viewpoint in a reasonable and educated manner.
- Warranted Attack: This type of negative feedback can be the most difficult to manage for PR people and marketers. Warranted attacks are made by angry or upset consumers who have complaints about your product or business that are fairly legitimate. This means that the complaints are reasonable, but the people making the complaints do so in an outraged or over exaggerated way. This is difficult because these types of complaints typically gain the most views online. The attack itself is unnecessary, but the complaint is usually founded on genuine issues.
- Spammers: This is one of the most annoying types of feedback marketers and PR experts have to deal with. The internet (especially in social media) is scrounging with spammers and “trolls”. This type of feedback is always extremely negative and “loud”, but is almost never founded by fact or real issue. These people are making noise about your product or company, merely for the sake of making noise. Spammers will post attacks that are angry or upset (like the “warranted attackers”), but never have anything to back up their claims.
Knowing How to Respond
Responding to negative feedback in the appropriate way is essential for companies trying to display a positive image of their company.
- Responding to Genuine Issues: Genuine issues are one of the most important types of negative feedback to respond to. You want to recognize that the issues brought up are real issues and then explain how you are addressing them or how you plan to address them. Try to be more personal with the commenter. Talk to them directly. For the most part, consumers will appreciate your transparency and honesty online. Thank the commenter for the productive and useful feedback.
- Responding to Warranted Attacks: This is where it gets a little more difficult. You absolutely want to try to respond to attacks like this because they are the loudest out there on the web. Your company’s reputation is usually its biggest marketing ploy. You should respond in an even and reasonable tone. Do not let your emotions become apparent in your response. Just because the attacker was unfair, does not mean you should respond hotly as well. Address the legitimate issues that are at hand. Offer solutions and apologize. Being up-front and honest online today is something that is becoming more and more rewarded. With so much hiding and masking happening online, transparency by companies and marketers is becoming an ever more popular trend.
- Responding to Spammers: For the most part, you do not want to respond to spam posts. Spamming has been around long enough online that most internet goers can recognize this kind of comment as false and inflammatory. However, if the post does catch attention, you should be careful to either try to bury the post or respond to it simply. Do not add fuel to the fire. Simply demonstrate why and how the post is a spammer/troll and move on.