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I follow a certain musician on Twitter — her music is great, and she is an avid tweeter. She recently tweeted something which I felt was utterly trivial. I proceeded to tell whichever of my followers was willing to listen, that I would no longer be following the musician due to the aforementioned tweet.
The interaction that followed highlighted to me a few important aspects of online engagement which brands and organisations sometimes forget.
Lesson 1: Speak when you have something to say
The tweet she sent served no purpose — it didn’t do anything to build her brand, and didn’t tell her followers anything of interest. Organisations often feel that they have to be as active as possible on their social media pages in order for people to like them. However, boring and irrelevant content is more of a deterrent than fewer tweets. Don’t try to spam users into liking you.
Lesson 2: Real time is right now time
This musician obviously does some kind of online reputation management for herself as she was able to pick up my tweet minutes after I posted it, and she responded. I am only one of her over 12 000 followers, but she took the effort to respond. We speak about social media as being a real time medium, but how often will an organisation respond within minutes, especially to negative comments?
Lesson 3: Lighten up
Her response was not what I expected — she answered my negative comment, starting her sentence with LOL. She did not come with guns blazing in an attempt to defend herself, but rather lightened the situation with humour and asked my opinion on the matter. Brands on social media need to remember that it isn’t always an attack, and the ability to take certain comments with “a pinch of salt” has the ability to change consumer perceptions about you. It’s more about how you deal with negativity than the initial negative comment itself.
Lesson 4: The small things count
The singer did not just answer my tweet, she became one of my followers. She really didn’t have to, but just that push of a button, made me follow her right back (again). I did not follow her again because I felt sorry for making my comment and that she saw it. I followed her again because she took interest in little old me in the Twitterverse.
Brands — don’t write off all negative comments. Make an effort to try and make those positive experiences for your followers and fans. It’s not always possible, but many of the people who take the time to talk about you (even negatively) are your customers speaking to you, the only way they know how. All they are basically saying is: hey buddy, you didn’t deliver on your brand promise, why?