Your reputation is everything. One bad stint of publicity can put a serious stain on a reputation. The problem with being online is that bad publicity can spread quickly. That’s why it is important to have a community manager that actually understands the brand, the consumer and the strategy direction to ensure that they ensure that all measures are taken to reduce the risk of anything bad happening. Community Managers need to know how to deal with negative sentiment online as well, as no matter how well a company composes themselves online, there is always a possibility that people will throw negative comments around; it is how you deal with them that makes or breaks the situation.

Negative Sentiment Response Plan

Typically, the client and the agency will work together to create a negative sentiment response plan. This may look something like this:

“The procedure below has been created to redirect negative sentiment from social media platforms to email, direct messages or phone call. It also shows that efforts have been made to diffuse the conversation in a professional way. The steps are;

1.Respect all feedback, let the user sending negative comments know that you have read it,

2.Let them know that you would like to know how Jennifer’s Kitchen can work it out,

3.Get them to send a direct message, email or call Jennifer’s Kitchen to discuss a resolution”

However, this procedure is unlikely to resolve all negative sentiment and concern. Many people do not want a resolution, and are happy to stir and create negative noise. For the most part, this is apparent from initial comments. If this is the case, then reminding those involved that ‘social media is a space that is shared by all and it would be much appreciated if respectful conversation occurred’. This shows maturity in the space and if disrespectful or offensive discussion continues then comments can then be deleted. Many pages have a custom tab with ‘House Rules’, which just lets people know the code of conduct.

It is the responsibility of the page owner to ensure that the page abides by the guidelines and policies of respective social media accounts. On Facebook, there is a fine line between criticism which is acceptable and criticism that is not, so it is important to have an experienced Community Manager in charge of the page.”

Crises Response Plan

No one wants to deal with a serious crisis online, as many businesses have unfortunately experienced (like the United Airlines case study discussed below). However, it can happen to anyone and it is very important to remember that there is a possibility that you will have more to deal with than just a bit of negative sentiment from customers. If a serious crisis is dealt with properly, then it can do your brand wonders, to show that you care about making the public happy. Typically, it is up to your media team or person, or your PR agency to help with developing a crisis response plan.

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