Keep your online friends close and your online enemies even closerby Lina Andersson
There is a huge amount of information on how people experience your products and services to be found online. Who doesn’t engage in social media marketing is missing out on customer feedback big time. In this day and age, there are millions of blogs, forums, websites etc. where people could be discussing your company or products, and you should know what they are saying. Why? – Because there may be a lot of people online with negative comments about your product.
If the initiator of the discussion is a blogger with 500,000 viewers monthly, your product sales are almost certainly being negatively influenced.
Most companies are afraid of engaging in social media marketing. By engaging, you give away the control of the message you normally could control.
Whatever your company or product , you will always encounter negative comments online. If you show people you care about their comments and feedback, this will eventually make people less negative about your brand. In best case scenario you may even manage to turn the negative commentators into ‘brand evangelists’ who talk passionately about you.
As an example in bad negative buzz management, take Marks & Spencer who made a huge pricing mistake for a flatscreen TV on their website. People had already paid 1/10th of the actual price before the mistake was discovered but the company refused to deliver. The angry customers started an online petition called “M&S gives us the TV we paid for”.
Eventually M&S got so much bad online criticism from all over that they had to stop the negative buzz by giving the people their bargain flat-screens.
It is important to remember that there are several risks when communicating with and reacting to your audience.
Here are some good ways to avoid negative buzzing online:
1. Be aware of the buzzing by signing up to Google Alerts, closely watch and listen to your Facebook page and Twitter. Also bookmark forums and discussions where your product or company is being discussed.
2. Don’t reply to all small comments and criticism. This will only cost time and energy. Focus on the bigger influencers and discussions that could have a lot of negative consequences on your sales/reputation.
3. Don’t way too long before responding to the person spreading negative comments. The longer you wait, the angrier the person gets and the bigger the risk that the negativity spreads among other people. If you cannot respond quickly, atleast leave your contact details so the person knows how to reach you with their complaints and give you an opportunity to solve their problem.
4. Respond in a human, down-to-earth, friendly tone. Let the person know you understand them and appreciate their comments and don’t be too stiff and corporate in your response.Show you are truly sorry or don’t say you are sorry at all. If you don’t apoloqize sincerely your comment will have no effect and might even generate even more negative buzz.
5. You cannot just only say “I’m sorry” and expect to make people happy. Truly offering a solution to someone’s problem is the way to stop criticism.
6. Don’t get angry at the person spreading the negative buzz. Their criticism can really teach you something and you need to remember the customer is king. Do tell your own side of the story though.
7. When you respond to a complaint, keep it online. If you do it offline, people cannot see you are trying to make it right, to fix what you did wrong.
8. Remember that you also have fans that can make you stronger when you get criticized by others. If you have a lot of satisfied customers, let the unsatisfied ones know their experiences are unique and that you can help them.
9. Involve your critics in the ‘fixing process’. These people can help you get better and they might be long-time users of your product with a lot of ideas.
The bottom line is, responding to your audience can make your company grow further and gain even more satisfied customers who increase your brand awareness by talking about it.
Source: O’Reilly (2009) “The new community rules: Marketing on the social web”
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- Assignment 1 – Reading reflections (35)
- Assignment 2 – Reading reflections, again (32)
- Assignment 3 – Blogging and Social bookmarking (28)
- Assignment 4 – Twitter practices (34)
- Assignment 5 – Facebook and Pinterest practices (30)
- Assignment 6 – Analytics and measurement (31)
- General Info (54)
- Individual Assignment – Blog post contribution (80)