Managing Your Reputation

How to Deal with a Social Media Flashmob

It is just amazing the speed at which world events are often sent around the Web via social media, and when that word is bad and happens to concern you or your company, you should have a plan of defense. If you've made an egregious error, there are ways to deal with that, short of getting into it with other people online defending yourself. You won't win, whether you're right or not.

But what about when you're right?

There are times when you'll generate negative buzz through no fault of your own. This can happen as a result of a dissatisfied customer, inaccurate press or misleading postings, or any number of ways. You've done nothing wrong, yet the social universe is abuzz with how bad you are! What now? Since we've identified that there isn't any good to come from fighting it out in a public forum, how do you keep from becoming a doormat in the eyes of public opinion?

Be sure and stick to your core message!

If you've got ample belief in your core message you will want to prove it by staying the course when others would try and put in their two cents. This opposition usually comes through social media as negative comments and complaints regarding your products, services, or particularly any changes you may have made. No one likes change, especially to things they enjoy or purchase. Then again, major time, thought and energy probably went into your new products or product changes. To roll with each and every whim of a capricious public is to welcome disaster. Make sure you answer every post though, using your characteristic diplomacy and customer care, but leave no doubt that you stand behind your products and services.

An illustration of steadiness in the storm from Shake Shack

One fine demonstration of a company enduring an onslaught of negative social comment is reported by Shake Shack, a New York City eatery found itself in the deep fryer when it modified the shape of its french fries. Soon the Twittersphere was chirping negative, and the fight was on. ShakeShack, to their credit however, responded by staying on message, and defending the change, while bothering to answer each objection carefully. When you're right, sometimes it is possible to stand up for yourself. Just make sure you're right!

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