Conquering Corporate Social Media Phobias by J-P De Clerck @conversionation

Social Marketing : Conquering Social Media Corporate Phobias

Conquering Corporate Social Media Phobias

The fear of a bad reputation or negative feedback keeps many businesses from engaging in conversations with customers and prospects on social media. At the basis of this are often misconceptions and a lack of strategies to efficiently monitor, analyze and respond to online feedback.

This leads to missed opportunities and often to wrong investments of time, resources and budgets in tools, practices and efforts that provide no business value.

Monitoring and analyzing online sentiment, reputation, trends, influencers and conversations must lead to insights and actions. It must be measured and is a must for businesses that care about what people say and do and about their brand.

Social marketing is still unknown territory for many businesses. If you have been working with social media for a longer time, you know that most of the brand reputation and negative feedback related fears with social media marketing,  are what they are: fears. However, many businesses do not have this experience yet and are still just exploring the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and (perceived) threats of social media and public online feedback.

Every day, people and businesses tell me that, regarding social media, they are most of all concerned about a “bad” reputation or criticism. In a way it’s normal: for many businesses the whole social media phenomenon is new and overwhelming. That is all too often forgotten by early adopters and experts.

However, the fear for the extent of possible criticism on social media and Internet is not realistic and a clear illustration that many organizations are not used to really listening to what people say. Businesses also often fear that they will need too many resources to deal with all the criticism.

What they unfortunately fail to see is that social media feedback and interaction offers a huge opportunity to gain business and customer insights, detect trends, enhance communication and improve the customer experience.

3 things you should understand about social media monitoring, reputation and sentiment:

  1. Social media monitoring, sentiment and reputation management are not a matter of constantly being on guard as a watchdog. Brand equity matters, but you do not strengthen it by ignoring or silencing online feedback.
  2. One doesn’t always have to respond immediately, or even at all, to every form of criticism everywhere all the time. Yes, we live in a world with increasing customer expectations and both positive and negative customer experiences can travel fast. And, yes, customer service and relationship marketing are key factors, but business is still a combination of customer satisfaction, the bottom-line, selling and ROI.
  3. Companies that are active in social media often take on a defensive attitude and are prepared with a small army of opinion makers and brand advocates to stamp out the negative buzz as it were. There is no need for that. Even a seemingly negative social comment can be an opportunity if you react positively and constructively.

Social media phobias cost.

  • You invest more time and resources than needed
  • The ROI of such practices is negative
  • You don’t help your clients at all
  • Traditional “PR” tactics are likely to be viewed as insincere by social media users
  • You don’t focus on your core business and value creation processes
  • Fear keeps you away from one of the main information and communication channels your prospects and customers use: social media

Are there threats? Yes, you always have the malcontent former employee, unethical competitor or eternal complainer.

So what do you do?

  • You monitor and analyze in a structured and efficient way
  • You use the thus gained insights to improve your communication strategy
  • You ensure an optimal customer experience
  • You define a reputation management plan
  • You define the resources and structural needs to put it in place
  • You listen to feedback and respond correctly
  • You define some guidelines
  • You offer people channels to give feedback
  • You keep the communication lines open
  • You measure and improve
  • You don’t just listen, you act
  • You use a tool that enables you to act

But most of all: you act, react, interact and focus on the positive instead of the negative.

Takeaway: Negative feedback and reviews are not a threat but an opportunity if you listen and act the right way.

Meet the author:

J-P De Clerck

J-P De Clerck

Although thoroughly interested in social media marketing and interactive marketing in general, he strongly believes in email marketing and wrote several books, papers and articles about it in his native country, Belgium, where he launched and later sold the first interactive marketing site. Although not a big fan of personal branding, he decided to join our team because he feels there is still a lot of work to do in helping businesses having an integrated, customer-centric and data-driven cross-channel view. J-P’s main blog is Conversionation (warning: he can get cynical there) but he also blogs on Social Email Marketing, Social Marketing Forum, Search Cowboys, Conversion Marketing Forum and Dutch and Belgian blogs about, well, all things marketing. Seems he just can’t get enough punishment.

Connect with: J-P De Clerck

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