Many businesses are worried about taking the plunge into social media because they do not know how to recover from back feedback. Business owners worry because if someone writes a negative post on their social networking accounts they do not know how to respond and are worried everyone will see the post. Find out how to handle negative posts and feedback that your company may receive.
When all of the social media resources are talking about the consistent battle to measure ROI in social media marketing, you might think that it would be the number one question that we get asked at Ivy Worldwide by marketing managers. Surprisingly enough that is usually what comes up last in discussion.
When meeting with clients, we generally talk about what we do and how we do it, why it is important and past success stories. We then get asked about global capabilities and costs. Heads are nodding. There is a small silence. And then the first question that always gets asked is: “What if one of the bloggers says something bad about our company?”
It is a great question, because one of the highest risks of social media marketing is that you are letting go of the control you once had over the messaging of your brand. You are turning the power over to your customers to help you spread by word of mouth. This is a huge risk compared to the control of messaging that traditional marketing and advertising are used to having. But we all know that with greater risk also comes greater benefit.
We are here to tell you that you can no longer control whether something negative is said and heard about your company. The fact of the matter is that it’s likely already happening. However, when you develop relationships with independent bloggers and influencers, there are ways to mitigate this risk.
Let’s discuss the four biggest reasons why bloggers would say something negative about your company or product, and some of the strategies we employ to remedy the situation.
1. Your product needs improvement: If you just have a product or service that does not serve a need or is defective, no amount of cajoling is going to get a reputable blogger to speak fondly of it. However, bloggers are always looking to gain credibility and good reputations with the companies they engage with. Therefore, the remedy is to get one-on-one with bloggers in your target demographic and find out firsthand from them exactly what is wrong and how you can fix it. This provides them with an opportunity to use their expertise and also an opportunity for your company to learn from them. You will be surprised at the credit you will get for just listening.
2. Misinformation: With the vast amount of information that is stored and accessible on the internet, in many cases there may be information about your company that is either out-dated or hard to find. Bloggers try to inform their readers the best they can, but sometimes they make a mistake if they are misinformed. When establishing relationships with influential bloggers you have the opportunity to provide them with the latest and greatest information about your company. Also, if they make a mistake or say something that is incorrect, this is your opportunity to get one on one with them to provide factual and referenced information so you can clear up the misunderstanding.
3. You asked without showing. This is a flagrant mistake that we see constantly. Companies will throw a product or idea over the wall to bloggers and ask “What do you think?” without providing enough context. It can be a fatal mistake. Take the time to position and explain your company and product to the bloggers. Don’t just send them a press release. Your product may not be the best on the market and may need some improvement. But by asking without first setting up the scenario, you are leaving way too much room for them to point out all the flaws first. Your product may not be number one in its category, but if you provide the best possible background information and share some of the insight and research your company has done, the bloggers have context to share with their readers about where your product fits and what need it will serve. The best possible scenario is to give the bloggers a chance to do some hands-on with your products while being face to face with your people.
4. You didn’t provide the right resources. In word of mouth marketing, another major mistake that will lead to bad feedback is to not give bloggers a knowledgeable resource to respond to their questions and concerns about your product. Try to set up an avenue for the bloggers to get in contact with people at your company who are not PR or a marketing agency. Bloggers want exclusive and in-depth access to content that is often only available through your research or engineering team. Don’t be afraid to have these representatives talk to the bloggers. We set up these conduits between clients and bloggers from the beginning of each relationship, and have watched them pay dividends in terms of the in depth and positive content that results.
In the world of social media and word of mouth marketing, you may not have a choice about what people say about your brand, but you do have a choice to strategize in advance on how you will inform and engage with influencers that can help you mitigate the risk of turning over your messaging to the voice of consumers. If you provide plenty of good content, take the time to explain your offering, and give access to knowledgeable resources who will answer questions and take feedback, you will be well on your way to getting closer to the best possible outcome.
Ivy Worldwide is a social media marketing firm that works in harmony with the enormous power of community and technology to further its clients’ goals. They amplify traditional marketing and create new methods of social marketing that have been recognized as the most innovative and effective in the industry. They use proprietary tools and techniques to affect every aspect of their clients’ business, from product and service development to go to market to service and support.
The directors of Ivy Worldwide have recently published a book explaining their unique approach to social media marketing, Social Media Judo. The book applies the principles of judo to the practice of marketing: using minimal effort to yield maximum effectiveness. If you are interested in learning more, Social Media Judo can be found on Amazon.