Take the rough with the smooth in social media

I recently had a really interesting experience with facebook. I made a post on a company’s facebook page that was, perhaps, incendiary, the other party certainly thought so and took an extremely heavy handed approach. I’d tried to word my post so that a positive spin could be taken – I wanted the company to come out smelling of roses, that would have been a win-win.

I look after the facebook pages for a sports club and a non-profit so I know what it is like to have to maintain a positive vibe online.

The former is easy, the latter is quiet but a prime target for political debate. It has one follower who occasionally pops up and takes a swing. We’d actually like more, we need to know what people are thinking, who is out there working in our industry that we don’t already have a “relationship” with. What matters is how we respond.

dislike from social mediaWe could:

  • block her – yeah, that will make us look really open and above board. She’s merely one of many who hold the same opinions.
  • delete her comments/posts – pretending something never happened isn’t smart. She’ll feel bitter and what she says to real people or via other media/pages etc is out of our control but will be tainted by the illwill we’ve shown her.
  • get mad, nasty, argumentative – because that always works, right!

But what we should do:

  • respond promptly and confidently – chances are the opinion expressed is valid, but comes from a different perspective. Explain it from your point of view and show that you have thought the issue through from all angles (which you will have).
  • invite her to pick up the phone, meet up for coffee, chat on skype – once you both stop being faceless people you may find you have more in common than you think. Especially when it comes to politics, usually people want the best for everyone, they just have different ideologies about how to get there.
  • let our followers respond – but this only works with motivated, active pages. Many are passively followed, a “like” is more of an expression of support than a fervent intention to post.

Its impossible to please everyone all the time. The key is to be open to criticism that is expressed civilly.


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One Comment

  1. May 1, 2014

    JeansWest just aced it. This is how “complaints” should be managed.

    JeansWest Facebook Page

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