As social media continues to evolve, so do those who participate in it, and how they respond is changing. Responding to social media criticism is difficult at best—creating a short, punchy response can make you look too aggressive, while a reasoned response is often lost on someone out for blood. This process has become a daily challenge for most entrepreneurs who walk the fine line of protecting their reputation and business, since often they are both. The process of analyzing feedback has become more important to major corporations, large organizations, and the government. They have created a process for responding to bloggers, encouraging legal counsel and PR experts–only respond to comments in certain situations.
These three strategies can assist you with a social media criticism problem, particularly one that stands to damage you, your organization’s or business’ reputation. If you’ve spent the last few days losing sleep over a negative comment someone left on your website, staring at a bad review of your product or service, a nasty column, or an insensitive comment, apply these tactics and judge its negative value before you submit a reply.
1. Will responding help you or your business? Think in terms of ROE (Return On Exposure) and ROI (Return On Investment)
Sometimes no response is a response. You really only should respond to public criticism if it could impact your business negatively. People often already have an opinion and have made up their minds about you and/or your business, so do not get bogged down in comments that are inconsistent to your current clients or customers; stay focused on creating value with your target base. Also, do not base your response (if you respond) on the critic’s name recognition and the value their following puts on their views.
2. Never put a biased blogger in their place
Often those who negatively blog about a topic, kind of business and/or types of people do that to create a buzz or build an entire business on that alone to become an “expert” for others who have the same values. Responding to a biased blogger usually causes more damage than good and often helps them increase their visibility and gain page rank now associated with you or your business’ name. Don’t be the reason that the controversial bloggers continue to come after you and your brand.
3. Some people just aren’t worth your time and energy, you must resist to reason.
It is too bad that social media doesn’t have an ombudsman to help mediate and regulate comments in the digital space. Some people just aren’t ethical or rational—that is just a fact. We would all believe that a reasoned response should be enough. However, it’s not, particularly on blogs that generate controversy. If you’re being criticized by a blogger leave the event to phase out and disappear on its own. A response, however reasoned and valuable, might just provide more reason for the critics to attack you—which isn’t good for you or your business.
Protecting your brand and your business is critical. This challenge will only continue to be more difficult as your brand and business grows along with social media, so the sooner you figure out your response strategy the better!!!