It’s not a new thing and neither it is indicative of any unusual behaviour when it comes to gaffes and intentional acts of sabotage. We say its only human. However when it comes to your brand, its never the responsibility of just one person who is speaking for you. It becomes a collective responsibility. Social media is a word too often used and still not that well understood. Businesses perceiving it as a free (or at least free to control) promotion channel is the biggest reason why they fail. It is happening way too often now and with all the best PR expertise, brands still end up enraging their customers.
Part of the Social Media Engagement done by brands involve keeping the customers happy with their content and promotional schemes. Though, it doesn’t end there. Your thoughts are what you are using to ultimately influence them to buy your product but it is the same thoughts which are being scrutinized by the people online. It becomes a fight between the Content and the Intent.
Content Vs Intent
You can try to do a great job in masking your profit seeking intentions through great content but consumer is subconsciously aware of the benefit you get out of them. The same people who like your product do not actually love you for selling it to them and the same people that you like as customers, you hate as critics. The outcome is a two way irony. It becomes amplified in social media interactions and well, the inner most feelings are not that easy to hide as you think after all. That is why the gaffes by even the biggest brands happen and there are few ways to prevent them. Seeking out a balance between your content and your intent is the first thing that you should do before investing in social media.
Communicate With Delayed Gratification
You think interacting means responding instantaneously? Big mistake! Wise men have always emphasised on the importance of silence. It helps in better listening. If a customer is unhappy with you then it is not necessarily because of the service. It could be because of the way you treat your own staff. So don’t jump to conclusion that you are doing them a favour and that they are being ungrateful. If you do not understand the inner meaning of the message then contemplate on it. Do not try to please them with a quick response that is unapologetic and further creates a conflict.
Shut Your Ego
..And then there’s the biggest killer of all time. Your own ego. When things begin to go spiralling down, your ego fuels the downfall. I don’t need to tell you more about it but I guess this is the single biggest factor of a social media situation that escalates to a crisis. This is the common thread. So if you are seeking advice to mitigate the situation, please ask someone who would give you an honest opinion and not just say yes to your every whim. More often than never that person is not your direct employee.
Here’s an interesting infographic on the top social media mistakes of 2013: