They’re still talking, even if you’re not listening

We get a lot of questions about marketing using social media – blogs, Facebook, Twitter, etc. Many of the questions go something like this: “If we do a blog, what if people write negative comments about us on it?”

The truth is, if you’re doing a good job of marketing, you’re going to have people who love you, and others who don’t. Even the strongest, most respected brands out there, like Apple, have many detractors like this. Does it hurt them?  Looking at market share trends on computers and cell phones, I’d say not.

In the new world of social media, the best thing you can do is engage people using the same tools they are using.  If they’re going to say something negative, they don’t need you to have a blog to find a place to say what they want to say.  But if you don’t have both the knowledge of how to use these tools – and a strategy to support it, you’re going to fall behind and your competitors, and detractors voices are going to be heard in the places that people are spending more and more of their time – online.

I recently ran across this guideline that the US Air Force uses to determine if and how they should respond to comments about them online.
airforce-guidelines-policyIt’s an excellent tool – especially for a large organization like the US Air Force.  I don’t necessarily think this is the same chart that should be used for everyone, but it does a great job of telling their people when and how they should respond – and gives people the freedom to do that – which is much better than putting up a brick wall and pretending that if you’re not involved in the world of social media, you don’t have to worry about it.

Author: Tom Flynn III