Elaine Fogel

If your business or nonprofit uses social media mostly to shout out news and promotions, you’re missing the boat! Is it purposely avoiding the complaints and not-so-nice comments?

In a recent report by Ethical Corporation and Useful Social Media, 72% rated their preparedness for social media criticism as average or below, with 20% being completely unprepared. Only 15% of companies reported that they were fully engaged with the problem.

Let’s face it, if your company or organization has “customers,” it’s inevitable that it will see negative comments and complaints online. The point is… how does it handle these? Ignoring them is NOT an option. Not only does it look bad, it isn’t in the organization’s best interests. Negativity begets negativity.

An Allstate/National Journal report from June, stated that 64% of social media users want to see an increase in companies using social media to respond to questions and complaints. And, 73% believe that companies use it chiefly for advertising.

Wait a minute. Isn’t social media supposed to take us away from the traditional media one-voice to multiple voices engages simultaneously? What happened here?

Authenticity is vital, argues Southwest Airlines’ Linda Rutherford, and companies should be careful how they engage and via what channel. ‘You need to understand what you company stands for. Just because there are Facebook, Twitter or any of the other ways to engage socially, it doesn’t mean they are a good fit for your company. You need to be authentic and ask the question: can we have a credible voice in this space…'”

What this tells us is: Get with the program! Treat social media comments as you would any inbound phone call with a customer issue. There’s no difference. You can apologize in social media and offer to resolve the issue offline. At least that shows your audiences that you have a desire to rectify things.

Has your company or nonprofit experienced negative online comments or campaigns? How did it respond?

Source: MarketingCharts

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