Being able to reach brands almost instantly, tearing down corporate walls with a tweet, is one of the reasons social media gurus get weird boners at conventions. However, there are those who take this little thread of power too far and terrorize brands.
You’ve probably seen these terrorists – they’re big fans of caps lock, add irrelevant comments to every single one of your posts on Facebook, and open twitter accounts to inundate your replies feed.
Exactly The Same As Real Terrorists, Except…
Al Qaeda, Hezbollah, and other ‘real’ terrorist share several common beliefs, from considering violence a valid alternative to despising CNN. But the most important trait they share in common is the belief they’re undeniably RIGHT.
And no matter how much Homeland makes terrorists seem human, nothings changes the fact they’ve lost the ability to accept a different perspective and are dead-set in achieving exactly what they want, no matter the cost. Here are a few must-dos when dealing with them (at least through social channels):
I JUST GOT YOUR PRODUCT 2 MONTHS AGO FROM A SUPER TRUSTWORTHY EBAY SELLER THAT PROMISED IT WAS IN PERFECT CONDITION BUT IT ACTUALLY BROKE ONCE I OPENED THE PACKAGE. I DEMAND A REFUND!
1. Allow Your Community To Respond For You
Ignoring negative comments may not be easy, but you cant engage every single one. Often, however, you’ll have more clear-minded fans to come to your aid. You should still keep an eye on the thread, as you dont it to evolve into a flame war.
2. Take The Conversation Private
Facebook’s messaging system for fan pages is perfect to direct such terrorists. A simple “hi Joe, sorry to hear about your troubles, why dont you send us all of the details in a message?” can help reduce the heat and properly address any issues.
Through Facebook, specifically, you can maintain the privacy of your email – something that comes in handy for extreme cases – but still make the user feel like they’ve got direct access to your company.
3. Hail Mary – Give Them Direct Phone Access
This must be a last resort, and it can be extremely dangerous if you’re not used to fielding such calls. The benefit is here allowing that person to vent, listening to their problems/concerns, and understanding their frustration.
The disadvantages, however, start to appear if you fall into a heated argument, or worse – make promises you’re unable to keep. Answering a distressed phone call can be challenging, so it’s important that you remain calm and reassure you’re there to do as much as you can to help solve the issue.
Recapitulating – Rules of Engagement
There are times you may think the situation is more serious than it really is. Keep a few things in mind:
- Terrorists are a a minority. A very vocal minority, yes, but rarely enough to change policies or core strategies.
- Sometimes they just want to vent. No matter how open some companies are thanks to social media, being given direct email phone access to a decision maker may just make that person feel important enough to recognize that you’re on his/her side.
- Left unattended, it could only get worst. If you notice a recurring complaint, through different media, it might be the beginning of a bigger issue. Take the issue privately and see what can be done.
A cool mind goes a long way, and it’s always wise to remember – you can never truly delete something off the internet.