Friday, September 21, 2012

How to diffuse negative social media

Negative comments towards a brand, person, or object are immanent. Frankly, not everyone is going to like everything. But now that I'm done telling you all the stuff you already know, let's talk a little about what you should do when someone says something negative on a social platform. As a brand, or especially as the social media manager of a brand, having negative comments or a 'brand assassin', can have a drastic effect on the way your firm is perceived by others. Let's look at an example of such a 'brand assassin':

Right now if you're Wells Fargo, you're tempted to just tell this guy off. You're thinking 'he's almost certainly just overreacting and I just can't have this stuff being said about our brand'. And you may be right. So what should you do? Just tell him off and/or delete his comment and ban him from posting on your page, right? That'd solve it.

But let's be honest. When was the last time you told someone off and told them they can never come back a peaceful conversation? It may be a natural thing to get offended and try to take action, but as a brand you have to be the bigger person. Seek resolution, try to help him, and hopefully if people stumble upon this post, which judging by his Klout score (sorry for those of you who are anti-Klout) is very likely, they may think even more highly of you for your 'higher road' actions.

So how did Wells Fargo do? I'll let you be the judge of that:

Fight the inclinations to 'get even', do everything in your power to turn this 'brand assassin' to a 'brand ambassador' and always take the higher road. It's not always the easiest thing to do (we are humans after all), but over time this strategy will pay dividends over the 'quick temper' strategy far too many firms are employing today.

I'd like to thank Todd Bacile (@toddbacile), my current Electronic Marketing Professor at FSU for the insights on this topic. Many of the opinions and strategies found in this article were learned through him.