SMFireFighting After numerous social media blunders going viral in the past months, now, more than ever brands and businesses must take a proactive stance on their social media and blog sites. Monitoring your content and what is being said about you is imperative if you want to stamp out the embers of negativity and disruption before they turn in to a full-on fire, blazing out of control.

Your business can be blindsided by negative customer reviews, someone commenting about a bad experience, Internet trolls out to cause trouble, and any unhappy follower who is using your sites to vent. And as discouraging as it can be, the unsatisfied, angry person is usually the more vocal. Yes, the majority of the people who follow you are satisfied and enjoy your content. But they aren’t the ones that can ruin your reputation and taint your name.

A single comment can spread like wildfire, consuming your business’ image and reputation, leaving a burnt taste in the mouths of those who follow you. Elisha Tan compared the Internet to a “giant public library where users have the ease of discovering and spreading information around.” You want to make sure that what is spreading around about you or your business is not damaging. How do you throw water on the flames of a social media crisis, dousing the negativity and saving the reputation of your business?

I believe we have to take two types of actions with our online sites. They are:

  • Preventative Action
    • Risk management strategy in place
    • Clearly defined social media policy
    • Regular content moderation
    • Listening to online buzz about your brand or industry
  • Proactive Action
    • Active interaction with your followers
    • Regular communication from you on your sites
    • Consistent enforcement of your policies
    • Quick response to any questions or concerns from your followers

If you’ve laid the groundwork on your social media platforms and blog, you will be prepared to handle any negativity, complaining, criticism and other forms of anger and dissatisfaction that may appear in response to your content or some perceived offense. When something does happen you can reply in the same consistent tone of voice and diffuse the situation, getting it under control. When you do this, your followers will appreciate your concern and desire to be transparent. Your online communities will be safe, enjoyable places for your followers to engage with you and each other.


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