To Engage or not to Engage, THAT is the Social Media Question

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To Engage or not to Engage, THAT is the Social Media Question


If an Internet user – and you can pinpoint which one – is continually leaving negative posts about your brand here, there, and everywhere, do you engage?           Or not?

We’d like to first thank Michael Fraietta of Filtrbox for getting the ball rolling with his comment on one of our earlier posts:

I had an instance where a competitor of my new company was trying to start a debate that did not exist. He kept prodding with inaccurate statements about Filtrbox, but I thought it was better not to take the bait as it appears he just wants attention on his project. I see that a competitor of both of ours is now in a similar debate and it appears as if he is using their online presence to fuel his own. Would you engage or not engage?

Some people are quick to jump to conclusions and assume that the person has it out for them. After all, they’re attacking YOUR company.

However, before you do anything: stop, breathe, and reflect. Some of the nastiest conundrums have come out of people losing their temper in the blogosphere and regretting it later on. You don’t want your customers to see a nasty side of you, do you?

Next, take action:

1. Are others agreeing?

Try to put yourself in their shoes. If someone seems to be consistently negative and you’re not sure why, don’t immediately assume that they’re the problem.

If you see that others are agreeing with this negative person’s comments, maybe there *gasp* IS a problem. Social media allows consumers to give real-time feedback, and listening, analyzing (and engaging) is the name of the game.

Consider this: if numerous people are leaving similar complaints, check with other departments to see what the real problem is. Fill them in on the negative comments you’ve been seeing and see if you can get some clarification on the matter. Miscommunication happens, and the only solution is more communication.

2. Kill them with kindness

Sometimes we all need just a little attention. Who knows? Maybe this person has a sad life and nothing better to do than try and criticize others. We all saw it in grammar school. It always turned out to be the school bully that was having problems at home, feeling insecure about himself, or having problems making friends that picked on others. The “trolls” of the Internet are often insecure about themselves (or their product) and may just need a little lovin’. You don’t have to be overly friendly, just be real with them.

Connect with them on a regular basis via the social platform of your choice. Acknowledge their presence and make them acknowledge yours. Once they see that you’re not backing down, or stooping to their level, they may come around.

3. Turn the other cheek

You’ve determined that it’s a competitor just seeking to do no good? Well, then may the best tool win. We are all aware that each social media monitoring solution is different according to its set-up, metrics, interface, method of feedback, price, target market, and source index. Hugh Macken made a great point on his blog recently that

“They are all winners in their own right. Numero uno truly is relative and depends on the context of your enterprise’s needs.”

And so, in sum – let negative dogs lie. Social media’s power comes from its ability to spread ideas and sentiment at the click of a mouse. We’d like to use this power to spread positivity and healthy competition. And, after all – any publicity is good publicity, right? 😉

by Michelle

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