No matter how you get your news, you can’t avoid reading about social media and it’s impact on websites and SEO (search engine optimization). However, what you also need to know, is that with Facebook and other social media, there is always a possibility for customers, visitors, disgruntled employees, and others to write negative comments, or poor reviews about you and your company. You have very little control over this once you are online since feedback is allowed on most social media sites. Responding quickly should this occur is the best advice we can offer. Quickly explain the situation and rebut anything which is not truthful and which could hurt your reputation online.
All content unless it is historical or backed up by science is always controversial and we all have differing opinions. With the inception of the internet, everything we post, tweet, link, add to our Facebook account etc. is now on the world stage. It is part of our very nature to debate and disagree. Keep this in mind as you are happily tweeting your opinion to others who may disagree. “Take it easy.” Content on company blogs should remain generic and offer educational material rather than controversial content.
Adding social links to your company website:
Many custom websites prefer a private blog area and disable commenting, thus preventing the opportunity for outsiders to post unwanted content to the site. Some clients are now taking social media links off their site to avoid any issues. If you do allow commenting and feedback however through social media links, you will need to monitor the feedback and react to any negativity as soon as it occurs. We are adding “Share This” buttons to newer websites as an alternative. However, if you add these personal social links to your company website be vigilant and watch for any negative material which could be posted without your knowledge.
Controlling the damage:
When you receive negative feedback, doing nothing is not an option. Be prepared to respond right away as this can spread quickly. Devise a plan of action which might include a “Google Alert” or you might prefer an email campaign to get the story straight. If necessary, repeat the response over and over again to get the correct story out. The effort will be worthwhile. The truth should prevail and you will get past this but it cannot be ignored. You’ll quickly discover who your friends are and in most cases, if you have built a great reputation with your customers, they will be quick to defend you against any comments which are not true. Asking them to provide you with an endorsement will help to calm the situation while you are dealing with the negative feedback.
Developing a marketing plan pro-active for social media:
As you are putting your social marketing plan together, crisis management of negative feedback should be taken into account. Your company policy as it relates to social media should be controlled by someone who is responsible to represent your company only in a positive manner and to respond quickly at the first sign of trouble. Social media passwords should not be shared with other staff members. No one other than the person chosen to manage the social accounts should provide any opinion or article content.
Marketing content and media should be carefully chosen:
All social content, post content and media streams should be appropriate for all audiences. Before publishing the content, check the spelling and grammar and scrutinize any opinions which might be controversial and lead to problems down the road. Be careful that inappropriate video streams be kept off all company social media accounts. Anything risky could go viral and you’ll really have an issue to deal with. Managing risks is key to providing great social media which will enhance your business, rather than hurt your business.
Stop future problems by remaining pro-active:
Make sure you reflect on why the negative story appeared in the first place and take positive steps to prevent this from happening again. We can all improve in the area of customer service and this feedback could be very helpful as we build our businesses. Check your data available such as posts, shares, likes, comments, tweets and other content which might need to be corrected, updated or repaired. It is completely unrealistic to think we’ll never have any negative feedback. However, we can do our part by remaining professional in all dealings with the public and that also goes for anything we publish online. Offer honest pricing and treat everyone as fair as possible. This will help to keep negative content from coming your way. Be forever pro-active in screening social content and any media being considered for publishing.
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Jean Holland-Rose, Chief Creative Officer and SEO Professional