The Good (and the Bad) of Social Media Engagement



On the blog, we talk a lot about how to reach your target market, increase your followers, and gain the right kind of popularity—all using social media networks.

But the thing is, humans run every company and every brand. And as humans we’re all fallible creatures. As it turns out, the same goes for any brand’s target market. It is impossible to please one hundred percent of the population one hundred percent of the time.

You may execute your social media strategy precisely and yet someone still decides to voice a complaint. Most likely, the complaint regards a real world occurrence: they weren’t satisfied with a product or they had a bad interaction with your company. So where do they turn to tell you they’re unhappy? They turn to social media, the quickest (and loudest) method.

Here’s where things get tricky: do you delete the remark that an unhappy customer left on your Facebook page? Do you engage with them over an angry blog comment? The New York Times recently posted an article titled, “Social Media Can Monitor Itself, and Protect Free Speech.” The article argues that social media should remain fairly unregulated because it actually monitors itself.

Users are always able to flag a comment they believe crosses the line, or block and then report a user who posts vulgar content. Of course, when it comes to blatant forms of violent expression or extremely inappropriate content, the platform itself has the right to remove it (and often the user). But strict censorship on social media just isn’t necessary, nor is it, as some would argue, in line with true democracy.

As a brand, then, when it comes to monitoring your own social media platforms, the question becomes whether you should let your consumers have expressive freedom, both positive and negative. At Social Media Contractors, we have a few tips on how to handle the negative reviews.

First of all, address the problem right away. Contact the customer privately, discuss what happened and make any apologies or corrections that you feel they deserve. Hopefully after they see how well, and fast, you responded to their complaint, they will calm down and be grateful. Often they will offer to remove the negative comment themselves. And if you handled the problem and leave the customer satisfied, leaving their review and the interaction public is a great move as it shows other customers how much you value good customer service.

Your customers do have a right to exercise freedom of speech via social media. If their complaints are completely unwarranted, our bet is that it will censor itself the same way—most likely by loyal customers who will adamantly go to battle for your company.  It’s actually beneficial to your brand if your followers see that you will engage with them and will apologize for any errors. Social media platforms are the spaces where your customers feel they can personally reach you, so don’t ignore them.

Reprinted by permission.

Image credit: CC by ResoluteSupportMedia

About the author: Catherine Walsh

Catherine is Editor at Social Media Contractors. She graduated from Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska, where she earned her B.A. in English and M.A. in English, specializing in Rhetoric and Composition/Ethnography.

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