13 Mar, 2012
What Happens When Social Media GOES WRONG? – Guy Levine
Every Business guru under the sun is currently extolling the virtues of social media. Even Lord Sugar is a Twitter addict. But what do you do if it goes wrong? What happens whena dissatisfied customer starts complaining ‘loudly’ online? What happens when you build a brand de-vangelist who just doesn’t like what you stand for? In this article we will look at what happens when the social become unsocial!
Google is not just a search engine. It’s a reputation engine. As a starting point, go and Google your name and your brand name. what do you see? Is it all good, or are there some things you would prefer were not there? While you are online, also have a look at search.twitter.com. Is anyone making your ears burn?
First stage of online reputation management is to know what people are saying. Easy tools to use are Google Alerts, which you can find by simply ‘googling’ and also TweetBeep.com. Google alerts will simply send you an email when it finds your keywords mentioned in any website it finds. These keywords can be your product name, brand name or your name. We have had occasions where people have been talking about us in Internet forums and Google alerts has brought it to our attention, allowing us to join in the conversation. TweetBeep is a similar kind of service but for Twitter. It will monitor when people are talking about you and contact you. Invaluable for keeping ‘in the know’.
There are also free Twitter tools such as TweetDeck which will allow you to monitor Twitter by setting up custom searches. This is simply done by adding a new column based on a search. You are then able to enter a keyword and TweetDeck will notify you every time that keyword is mentioned on Twitter. One of the searches I often use is for my own name. If someone writes a post with @guylevine in it, I am automatically notified by Twitter, but if someone were to mention Guy Levine I will not be notified, however this custom search picks it up.
Although we are talking about online reputation management, we also want to make sure we are receiving lots of alerts from the positive work we are doing. Therefore, make sure your ‘brand’ every piece of digital content you have. So Picturesw, text and videosshould all have reference to your brand or product names to ensure your online visibility.
If the worst should happen and you do find negative information you should follow these steps:
1. Is there merit to the issue? Was it your fault? Are they right?
2. If it is not correct, it’s time to offer facts and ask for a correction to be made.
3. If it was correct, try to engage in a discussion.
4. You should have a statement prepared to go on your blog or website.
Often people who have a grievance just want to be heard. Having a conversation will allow some of the ‘heat’ to disperse! The worst move is to threaten with legal action as it just builds the tension.
To become a true social maven there are four keypoints. The first is to listen to what people say. In fact, it is always good to listen first to get a grip of the language of the conversation. The Second is to talk to those concerned like they are people. Social media is about the people, and tweets that only sell often lead to bad press and sentiment. Try to engage people and build relationships, because simply chatting with the thought leaders in your business space will often get you noticed, Finally, and most importantly, always, always measure what is being said about you. There are tonnes of folk-law stories about kids being turned away from university interviews because someone has found something inappropriate on Twitter. Whether this is true or not, do they never check the comments that people are leaving?
Build your brand online and nurture it… Most importantly protect it, because you never want to be in a position where it bites you on the behind!