Ride the Waves and Turn the Tide – How to make it work for you either way

Written on Tuesday, May 3rd, 2011 at 3:44 pm by Liz
Filed under Sharing Success.

“It takes but one positive thought, when given a chance to survive and thrive, to overpower an entire army of negative thoughts.” ~ Robert Schuller

Social media as a marketing medium can be as fickle as a woman’s emotions <g>.  It’s either you’re liked or not, criticized or adored.  And all this is done in a very public manner, with a very extensive reach, through the World Wide Web.  For this reason, some marketers hesitate to use social mediums to their advantage – when the uncertainties of the internet tides are too much for them to bet on.  And some of those who do “brave the elements” eventually face social publicity nightmares that need PR management.

In this very public arena where the throwing of likes and dislikes is as easy as clicking a button, marketers get a fair share of criticism and admiration.  If the tides bring in the latter, then, it’s a success, a reason to celebrate! <g>  If on the other hand, the majority of virtual voices point to the down side, it becomes a headache that needs to be addressed before the marketer drowns in a tidal wave of negativity.

Jordan Knox, NuRelm’s new social media specialist, sends some SOS with 5 Ways to Turn Negative Social Media Feedback into a Positive.  In the August 2010 issue of InternetMarketingTNT.com, Jordan suggests the following next steps for negative feedback:

1)    Identify the intention of the negative comment – Is it a legitimate complaint? Does it need a solution? Or is it merely spam complaints that have no valid basis for criticism?

2)    Humanize the response - by understanding where the feedback is coming from and by addressing the comment, the marketer acknowledges that social media is a forum for conversation.  Every response becomes an opportunity to turn the negative comment around into a positive light.

A logical response can change the negative view in the public’s eyes.  Issues on after-sales service can be explained well enough for the customer to realize that there is a really good explanation for everything.  Either way, a rational reply lets people know that what they had to say was noted, listened to, or possibly acted upon.

For derogatory comments that need no reply, they can be ignored, lest your objective is to further a no-win fight publicized within your social network.

3)    Promptly address problems – promptness is essential to reassure the customers that their issues are of primary concern, and are being given the appropriate attention.  Furthermore, immediate action on a customer complaint narrows the window of time for added negative feedback from the same person.

Jordan suggests making use of reputation monitors such as Google alerts, for real time monitoring.

4)    Involve your audience – Be one step ahead of possible complaints and avoid getting them proliferated through public media sites.  One way to do so is to tap your customer base by surveying them directly.  You can use this data as reference points for addressing problems and questions, and at the same time, makes the customer feel a part of the “service improvement” process.

5)    Do not delete – as tempting as it may seem to just delete all the negativity from digital space, don’t!  Remember, you’re into social marketing and that space is open venue for all kinds of comments, both good and bad.  It’s all a matter of using them as opportunities to turn the bad into a good thing for you.

Another battleground

When before, the fight happens at the point of sale, social media is now another marketing battleground where strategic combat techniques guided by intelligence and caution should be used.

The venue may have changed and turned digital but the principles of customer service and public relations have remained constant.  In any case, any kind of publicity, whether good or bad, is still publicity.  And even major waves of negative comments can be turned around to become positive.

As a marketer who takes social media seriously, every good and bad thing that flows in and out of this channel can be used for the betterment of products and services.  You can save these negative comments and use it as a platform for training company personnel on how to address them, and more importantly, how to prevent them in the future.

Ride the waves; don’t let negativity drown you out.  Ride it out into the sea of positive response, ideas, and success.

Stay positive! <g>


Image by:
Salvatore Vuono / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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