Dealing with negative feedback in social media

This item was filled under [ Customer Service, Public Relations, Social Media ]

I came across a good article today in the American Express OPEN Forum site from Josh Catone, features editor at Mashable, where he outlines how to deal with negative feedback online. He suggests that there are four types of feedback: straight problems, constructive criticism, merited attack and trolling/spam. He then offers some good advice on how to react to the different types feedback.

Catone suggests, “The number one rule when responding to all criticism, even the negative type, is to stay positive. Adding more negativity to the conversation by letting yourself be drawn into a fight with a customer or user will only reflect poorly on your business.”

The one item that I’d suggest adding one other consideration, especially for the small and medium sized businesses who comprise the core of OPEN Forum, is evaluating risk. While customer engagement and service is important, small business owners often need to focus on their core offering. Few companies have the resources to respond to all feedback. When a company evaluates risk, they assess the potential influence of those generating feedback and the anticipated negative impact or fallout. The greater the influence or impact, the higher the risk and the greater the need to engage.

The final important point is something I learned early on. If you have a problem with someone, try to deal with it in private. Most companies want to migrate feedback to more intimate and controllable channels where a frank dialogue and resolution can emerge. If the resolution is satisfactory, often those sharing feedback will update their friends or followers on the experience.

People today want to support responsive companies that respect their opinion and want to improve the way they do business.

Bringing the conversation home – Google Sidewiki overview

This item was filled under [ Content, Public Relations, Social Media ]

The conversation on Google Sidewiki is heating up. Today we circulated some information at work that helps people understand its significance. The following snippet is edited for public consumption.

There has been a fair bit of discussion online over the last month about Google Sidewiki. This technology allows anyone with the current version of the Google Toolbar to leave comments on any Web site. Think of it as graffiti. Some people will try to beautify a site and make it better with their inputs. Others will try to defame the existing content. It could create a potentially polarized view from the communities of allies and adversaries that visit a Web site.

So what does this mean for communication professionals? As the guardians of reputations online and offline, we need to ensure that those policing the brand and concerned with reputation are aware of these types of developments. Sidewiki brings the conversation home. No longer do we need to just monitor the conversation in  social media venues. We need to monitor the conversation on our own site’s Sidewiki.

There are a number of things we can do to take control. This list is inspired by five steps (hover over links for quick summary – 1, 2, 3, 4, 5) proposed by Tom Barnes earlier today on Twitter.

  1. Download the Google Toolbar with Sidewiki and check out your clients’ Web site(s). Is there any conversation there that they should be aware of?
  2. Learn about this new technology and its potential impact on online reputation management.
  3. Encourage the Web team to take ownership of your domain(s) and set up those responsible for reputation management as the Page owner.
  4. Once ownership is secured, insert a Page owner’s welcome message to set the tone and reinforce any terms, site usage standards or policies related to how conversation and interaction fits into the Web site. (see Ed Lee’s post linked below for some great recommendations)
  5. Update your reputation management plan to account for online threats and opportunities represented by evolving technology platforms and social media.If you don’t have a plan, develop one!
  6. Put the plan into action.

Here’s a good primer video from Google called Introducing Google Sidewiki.

Here are some other posts you may want to check out:

I hope you find this helpful.