When people talk about social media, it’s mostly about the good stuff: connecting and engaging with consumers, being able to find new ways to deliver content, and new avenues for sales and marketing.
But what about the bad stuff? What happens when people talk negatively about your company, products or services? It is a topic that doesn’t get much attention or it causes so much concern and anxiety that it forces companies to not embrace social media.
The harsh reality is social media isn’t all peaches and cream. No matter how good your products or services, there will be people who will use social media to criticize them. As much as it’s great to have positive conversations, the bad goes along with the good.
Truth be told, social media is an ideal forum for complainers, critics and, well, whiners. It takes little effort to tell the world when a company, product or services doesn’t perform as well as expected. When a click, the message is instantly disseminated in ways that could never have been achieved by phoning a 1-800 number or writing a letter to customer service.
But the bad stuff should not keep companies from getting into social media. No matter how hard you try, critics can’t be avoided or, for that matter, be a major concern. Instead, negative comments, tweets, updates and blog posts, et al should be seen as opportunities to learn and be pro-active.
If a criticism appears on Twitter, for example, don’t pretend it doesn’t exist or get offended. A better approach is spending some time to think about the most appropriate response. It may be a tweet that is so bizarre, it makes no sense to reply.
But it may be a tweet that encourages you to engage by acknowledging you’re listening to what people or saying. A negative tweet provide some much-needed feedback or information that can be used to make your products or services better. And it could be an opportunity to build a new relationship by pro-actively reacting out to someone to learn more.
In other words, bad doesn’t always have to bad. And it doesn’t have to scare a company from using social media. It really depends on how the un-positive is handled and what companies decide to do with it.