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The Good, the Bad and the Fence Sitters.
17 Jun 2011
So you have your social media monitoring software setup. You look at a month’s data and find that 20% of your mentions hold positive sentiment, 60% hold neutral sentiment and 20% are negative. Where do you align your resources in order to make the best gain? Well the positives are great for your brand, so reinforcing these as much as you can is a good idea, as it may help turn the negatives and the neutrals round to a positive; this is an indirect way of dealing with the negatives and the neutrals. You might affect those that have nothing to say either way by those who have said positive things before.
Retweeting and commenting on Facebook wall posts is a great way to reinforce the positives, but avoid direct retweets as this just looks intentionally promotional. Instead engage into a conversation such as “Thanks for your feedback @123abc. Really happy that you got what you needed from us! Hope to see you again soon!” This not only reinforces the positive sentiment, but followers that are undecided or have a slightly negative attitude towards your brand can be swayed by these comments. The negatives are obviously cause for concern, but attributing all your resource to deal with 20% of people – is this really the best use of the resource you have available? And is your target for this realistic? Can you turn round a full 20% of people? Generally, negative sentiment can be attributed to either slow response to a question or poor service received. If your customers are taking the trouble to converse with you via social media, it’s important that you try and reciprocate this. Can you try and solve their problem? Can you offer a discount or something similar if the service they have received is particularly poor? There are countless examples of brands that have used Twitter and Facebook to deal with irate customers and offer advice. Vodafone UK (http://twitter.com/#!/vodafoneuk) show how customer service can be delivered well on Twitter. Now I know I’m going to get hammered here, massive company, money to burn, dedicated team, etc.., but there are things everyone can learn from this. The calming influence that the Vodafone tweeters portray is done through language and the relatively soft feel to their Twitter page layout. So you might not be able to respond every second of every day, but you can pick what you respond to, and more importantly how you respond to it. Within this, the positives can come to your rescue. The “community” can come to your rescue, they can jump in and turn round the negatives for you. So the advice here is don’t jump in straight away. If you have a good community and you engage with the positives by responding to them, this can stand you in good stead moving forward. If it’s been more than a day then you probably need to act. Here at Epiphany, we have certainly seen occasions where online communities we have helped developed for our clients have jumped in and turned into “brand advocates.” For the neutrals, 60% is a big number. It’s the area where you have the most to gain and the least to lose in some respects. These guys have not yet decided, and they are on the fence. Now as the negatives, you are never going to turn them all around. The aim should be to influence these people through the way you deal with the positives and the negatives, and see what effect this has the month after you have put processes in place. You may be surprised by the results, or you may find out you need to act. If it’s clear that you need to intervene, try and find pressure points. For example, if a good chunk of these people are asking questions about your products or services, try and point them to areas on your website that can answer the points for you. If you can’t find answers to their points in your online content, there is a good chance they are not the only one looking for this information, so make a plan to introduce content to deal with this. This also has positives from an SEO perspective, as driving links into your website from these sources, plus any retweets that you receive all adds up. These people can be easily swayed by both negatives and positives, so it’s important that whilst 60% is a big number, the other 40% can potentially influence that 60% better than you can. Effectively you are looking for online testimonials, and if you can get these without asking for them, then it’s very powerful. So what’s the answer? Well they are all as important as each other. Yes OK maybe that’s a kop out, but the point here is that you don’t need to dedicate five people to respond to your audience via social media. You just need to work out a way that works for your business. If you’re not Vodafone, and get one or two direct tweets a day – can you spare ten minutes to convert these people into a sale? If you see good results from your methods (uplift in traffic, increase in positive sentiment, more followers, more conversions from social media), is it time to dedicate a resource to this? What does everyone think about this? Has anyone got any great examples of how brands they know have dealt with these issues? As a representative of a brand, have you dealt with these issues and lived to tell the tale? (Photo: Silicon Cloud)