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?
To return to the imagery from last week’s WordPress blog post on social media, when have you ever completely finished a painting job? There always seems to be a little area that needs touch-up, another coat, or a bit of finessing right after you clean up the brushes, roll up the tarp, and put away the ladder. It’s a well-known fact that when the crews at the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco complete the entire paint job from end-to-end, it’s time to go back to the beginning and start anew. Whether you manage a social media site for your personal advantage, or that of your job as a public relations manager for a company, you need to attend to it as regularly as the Golden Gate crew.
Invariably a smudge or a hairline crack appears on your walls too quickly after you are done. Invariably you will run into positive or negative comments on the wall that is your social media site. You handle them much like any great painter would do whether it is a wall or the fine art canvas. That is, you acknowledge them.
It’s popular for people to bag on Victorian mores, but one lesson they honed to perfection––and we could revive––is politeness. If someone gives a ‘thumbs-up’ to your social media site, be polite. Say “thank you.” Two little words that mean so much when conveyed with good intention.
Likewise, politeness can get you out of a jam when commentary isn’t so positive. Acknowledge negative commentary on your channel. Accept it for what it is, and give it some listening time. No matter how poorly written, there may be a kernel of truth in its essence to help you improve your site, opinion, or commentary overall. Be brave. Be willing. Should the commentary be negatively provocative or with no merit, than simply respond by thanking the commentator for their opinion. If warranted, comment to them at a private email response to take your discussion off the mainstream site.
Controversies and problems may be handled in exactly the same manner. Be polite. Be brave. Acknowledge the difference of opinions publicly and respect another’s right to hold a dissimilar opinion. Don’t retaliate. It’s better to tactfully move the conversation to a private channel between the two of you. If you can touch-up your wall or canvas in this way, the repairs to your work will soon be sorted out and most likely unnoticeable. For an example of what not to do, search this summer’s epic public relations debacle (or should that be de-bake-all) as witnessed at Amy’s Baking Company.