Week 2: What should you do with positive and/or negative comments on your channels? How do you handle controversy or problems that come with being on social media?
I’m thinking of a blog I used to read, now closed down, where “conflama” (conflict + drama) was the order of the day. Practically the norm. This blogger (personal finance universe, very much a beginner) asked for help and guidance on particular topics of concern. Fine, so far. There were numerous posts where commenters offered ideas and suggestions that a newbie to personal finance blogging might want to talk about, and also have personal issues dealing with. I even offered some, where they were relevant to my own experience and background. Then it became a wave of backlash. Blame the commenters for most everything. Any suggestion was perceived as dagger-pointed criticism of her directly. No nuance was detected or understood in her responses. A pity party always set in. Then some remorse, and then the whole, “I’ll be better, please come back to my blog and give me advice.” Rinse. Repeat. Over and over and over.
So, what’s the message here? I think the first is obvious. Don’t fight with your blog readers. Don’t scream at them, yell, call them names, or throw profanity on them. All things this blogger managed to do (even to me). Here’s the thing – this was low key, a personal blog seen and read by a small number of people, not something seen by the readers of Money magazine or the Motley Fool website. As social media goes, it was small potatoes. And what of our little personal finance blogger? Shop closed. Ragged remnants on the web with her screen name remain. No blog. No advice. No engagement, at least for now.
The lasting story is how negative stories, like this one, can really be positive, and for all the right reasons. If you are an organization that values its reputation and professionalism, what does it say when you argue online with your clients or customers? Will it leave a sour taste in the mouths of those who are potential clients and customers? Quite likely. Will it mar your reputation? Certainly. What do you do? Clearly, you engage in conversation from a positive perspective from the beginning. As we saw with Amy’s Baking Company, bad press only further eviscerates one’s reputation.
As we now face the end of school, and look forward to the world of work, what might we see in our future places of employment? Researching these companies requires looking at their interactions with social media. How are they engaged, and to what degree? Will having social media responsibilities be a component of the new job? If so, understanding the breadth and depth of what it can encompass is critical. Your name as a representative of your company is out there, for all to see. Instead of creating a cascade of negativity, make it a reflection of something good. Show the world the positive side of you and your company.