I talk to a lot of organisations about social media. So I tend to hear the same questions again and again.
You can probably guess what sort of questions they are. I’ll write a FAQ list one day. But in the meantime, I want to share one of the most intriguing questions:
“What happens if somebody says something bad about us?”
It’s every organisation’s fear. As soon as they put up their shingle in social media, opening themselves up to public comments, they tend to wonder what will happen when someone criticises them. (Nobody ever asks: what happens if someone praises my product? What happens if someone says I’m their favourite supplier of Whatchamacallits?)
So what’s my response?
I tell them, “you should almost want somebody to say something bad about you”.
If somebody criticises you, it’s an opportunity for you to talk about yourself. It’s an opportunity to put the record straight. They’re publicly asking a FAQ. Organisations should be rubbing their hands in glee at this chance to shine.
…that’s provided they’re doing the right thing of course.
If you’re in business and proud of your product, if you’re a good employer, if you care about the community you operate in, and you’re open to continual improvement, don’t be scared of social media. Use good judgement with your content, yes. Have a management strategy and a clear understanding of what you want from social media. Be ready with answers to frequently asked questions. But be confident that social media can support you. Your customers and audiences can use social media – so can you.
Social media presents another opportunity to brand yourself. At the risk of sounding very Pollyanna , public slanging on a Facebook page or other social forum is a chance to turn someone’s frown upside down. If you’re criticised online:
- Investigate the issue quickly
- Don’t take it personally – treat it as a concerned question
- Write a factual response
- Always, always thank the person for their comment
- Take their opinion on board. Should your business be changing something about the way it works? Social media comments are often precursors to wider community concerns.
Have you ever asked an organisation a question on a social media platform? What did you think of the response?