Since social media is always on 24/7/365, it’s easy to sleep through something important. No, that doesn’t mean you have to stay awake and never hit the sack, but it does mean that you need to be aware that when something breaks, immediate action is called for, even if that immediate action is to send out a tweet or post to Facebook when you’re still sucking down your first cup of coffee waiting for the caffeine to kick in.
For instance, if your company is mentioned in a negative way, such as a product complaint or customer service issues that is wacky or unusual enough that it might go viral (see United Breaks Guitars), you can’t wait to respond. You have to craft a message of some sort right now. That may mean the only message you get out before management gets a chance to weigh in is ‘we see the issue and will have a response soon.’
Those who wait allow the energy of social media to potentially grow exponentially. But if you get out in front of the issue, you at least are telling the world that you see there’s an issue and will make your statement soon. Then you put together your statement and get it out there.
Social media is happenin’ NOW and there’s nothing you can do to hold back the tide once it gets going.
When you prepare for a worst-case scenario, it doesn’t mean that you’ll ever have to use that response. But it does mean that IF such a negative thing happens, you at least have a framework of a plan in place on how to respond.
On the other hand, good things can happen in an instant as well. Oreo Cookies had a social media team in place while watching the Super Bowl last month. When the power went out for 35 minutes, Oreo had an ad posted before the power came back up. The story of the quick response is well documented by David Meerman Scott on his fine WebInkNow.com blog.
You can generate good things in an instant, and you can get in front of bad things quickly. But you must be prepared to react or act instantly, and not wait for some corporate approval. By then it’s probably too late.
Ignoring negative comments on your blog or Facebook page is not a good practice, either. If you can’t at least acknowledge the comment to say thanks for sharing your thoughts, it opens the door to a chance that the comments will feed the internet beast, drawing more negative comments which then becomes like a snowball rolling down a hill, gathering mass and speed. Instead, offer a thanks to the commenter and address the comment if possible (snarky name-calling need not be responded to unless there’s a legitimate concern being expressed; even then, point out that you’re happy to respond to negative comments but that name-calling is not okay). Use negative comments as an opportunity to learn what’s bugging your community. Is there a problem you’re not seeing? Are you missing a negative situation that could lead to worse problems? Often, those negative comments are an opening to seeing things that you might have otherwise missed.
Think Long Term: remember that those comments and videos and blog posts and Facebook comments and tweets are there for a long time. Like, as long as the internet will exist. In other words, longer than we’ll be around. Damaging comments and posts can and will stick around for a long time, doing their damage long after we’re gone. By keeping this thought in mind, it’ll help filter everything through a screen which allows you to post only those items which you don’t mind sticking around for decades to come.
And how’s your online reputation? One of the fastest growing enterprise opportunities in the online world is Reputation Management. It’s the new social media skill. How are you at managing your online reputation? Can you suss out the bits and pieces that will shred your reputation? Can you point out the great posts and tweets that build up yoru reputation? By all means, take time to look closely and see what is really going on regarding you – and the company you work for. Make note of anything that may not look or feel right, and work to correct it. You’ll be glad you did. And be sure to download our Social Media Audit outline to help you get started.
- Social media is on 24/7
- Prepare for a worst-case scenario
- Ignoring negative comments can get you into trouble
- Think long-term
- Reputation management is the new online social media skill