A recent blog posting on ReadWriteWeb about why we tweet shows that many of us use Twitter for purposed-based activities, such as obtaining news, information, or work-related activities, rather than just for fun.
The fact that people are actually using Twitter as a resource and are paying attention to the information is a double-edged sword for businesses: you have the opportunity to hear what your consumers are saying, but you have to be willing to listen and hear what they are saying as well.
Generally when a company enters a social media platform, they are capitalizing on the opportunity to tap into the wants, ideas, and invaluable feedback from your consumer base, and realize that it outweighs the damage control that is involved when a problem is brought to light.
Recently, a Twitter user was sued by her management company for an allegedly “malicious” tweet. Of course there are two sides to every story, but I am going to look at it how it was perceived, which is all that really matters in terms of CRM and publicity.
The management company was reported to have said “We’re a sue first, ask questions later kind of an organization,” as the Twitter user was reportedly not contacted about her tweet. I will not begin to get into the ethics and standards of whether or not tweets should be held to journalistic standards, or if they are just an extension of our free speech, but I will point out this reaction caused that tweet to be exposed to millions of people, rather than just the 20 or so people following.
In terms of brand management and customer relations, social media should be used as a tool to help improve a business. This situation is a perfect example of how a social media presence could have been used for a proactive valuable exchange, being that the woman’s tweet wasn’t directed at the management company, and the company found it of their own accord.
A social media presence is not about keeping track of what is being said about your company, and quickly squashing anyone who speaks negatively; it is about keeping track of what is being said, and if negative comments are found, using it as a competitive advantage to see how to resurrect the situation, and also how to prevent it in the future.
There will always be nay-sayers and bad-mouthers, and part of collecting valuable feedback is also dealing with some difficult people and situations. I think brand management via social media can be best utilized by appreciating any and all feedback in order to improve future interactions, not by forcefully silencing any negative comments.
How should companies manage negative comments? How proactive do you think a company’s brand management plan should be?