Social media pages serve as a vital component of the marketing and communications mix for companies. They allow organizations to disseminate company news and deliver exclusive offers and can also serve as a method of customer service. While these are all positive examples of how corporate social media can support a company’s initiatives, there are negative issues that can arise within social networks.
Social media gives a voice to the masses that was once only reserved for the traditional media. With that said, social media now provides an opportunity for the masses to express their individual opinions toward organizations, whether positive or negative in nature. It’s also worthwhile to point out that individuals are more willing to offer negative opinions versus unsolicited positive praise. The key to remember is that not everyone in the world is going to like a company – Google, Apple and Facebook are three of the most popular U.S. companies and they each have sizeable detractors – and negative comments and posts are going to happen; but it’s how a company handles these posts that can make or break a brand.
Take it for what it’s worth
Consumers go to a brand’s social media pages to interact with that brand and to get a feel for the culture. It’s important to not underestimate consumer intelligence. Customers can be skeptical of squeaky-clean social media pages. Social media is not the place to embed executive biographies and perfectly etched corporate initiatives; save that for the company website. A smattering of negative comments provides a more realistic overview of a company’s products or services, without causing too much harm to the brand.
Use negative comments on Facebook, Twitter or YouTube as learning experiences and as a way to connect with customers. For example, Domus serves as a social media consultant for OKI Data Americas. We found that negative comments or posts can provide valuable opportunities to help customers receive technical support and can produce consumer loyalty and goodwill initiatives. The key is to show that the company is listening by responding accordingly.
Do NOT hit delete
It may seem like a quick fix, but deleting negative comments can have a very adverse reaction. When an individual has taken the time to post a negative comment, they will be extremely upset if their comment is removed from the feed, just ask Chiquita.
As per our social media protocol, we have identified limited situations where the deletion of a user’s post is appropriate, that being when offensive/derogatory language is being used.
Remember, a few scars can give a brand character, just as long as everything is kept in balance.
Greg Smore is a Senior Account Manager at Domus, Inc., a marketing communications agency based in Philadelphia. For more information, visit http://www.domusinc.com. For new business inquiries, please contact CEO and founder of Domus, Inc. Betty Tuppeny at firstname.lastname@example.org or 215-772-2805.