Think of your favourite clothing brand or company. Where do you go when you want to find out a little more about them? If the answer isn’t “social media” then it’s most likely “Google”, which will take you to the company’s social media or website.
We think you’ll all agree that it can be pretty frustrating when a company or brand doesn’t have a strong online presence. Let’s be honest, we all know the best way to get an answer these days is by reaching out on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (...even if it’s to tell your flatmate to stop eating your food in the fridge).
It’s surprising to us that we still come across companies and organisations that aren’t online, so we set out to find out why!
Media is scary!
Through various conversations with a mixture of Government and private organisations, we found the most common response as to why they were avoiding social media was because of the word ‘media’.
The word ‘media’ instills a sense of fear of exposure and most organisations we spoke with were unsure of how they would handle the negative conversations that comes with freedom of expression on platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Rather than focusing on the ‘media’ side of things, the key focus point is in fact ‘social’. The best form of marketing has always been word of mouth and these days the strongest form of word of mouth is actually word of the keys… that is, a lot of recommendations these days take place online with the simple click of a ‘share’ button or tagging friends and family in a post or conversation thread.
In using social media you are maximising your chances of awareness and creating an approachable ‘shop front’. From a Government perspective, social media is a fantastic forum to build awareness around positive changes and address any issues that you would address with a press release in a social forum.
So what happens when the negative conversations break out?
Twenty years ago, a letter to the editor of the local newspaper was the most common way of having your say, and let’s be honest, how many positive letters to the editor did you see back then? It’s the same concept these days only the poison pen holders are now known as keyboard warriors. What makes us luckier than the days of writing to the editor is that we can respond straight away!
Negative comments online can promote positive conversation if handled the right way. Here are a few easy steps to combat the keyboard warriors and turn the conversation positive
Have an issues management communications document on hand so that you have key phrases to refer to when responding to negative comments (for those companies that don’t have one in place, JSD always ensure to create one at the start of every campaign)
Thank each person for their feedback and then politely address any issues raised
Have a dedicated staff member or digital agency tasked to respond as timely as possible - you don’t want to look like you’re avoiding the conversation. Be careful not to set a precedent for replying outside of business hours, though
If the matter is complicated or gets heated, encourage them to send you a direct message, email or offer a phone line that they can call
The number one rule of marketing is to never change your brand or marketing direction as a result of negative comments or ‘keyboard warriors’ (unless it’s telling the Chinese restaurant )
With the right strategy, your online communications can easily and cost-effectively drive your awareness and marketing. Social media isn’t scary, it’s exciting, positive and can help your business, brand, company or organisation receive the positive.