Social media has been around for over 20 years and currently, there are about 3.8 billion active users. Brands have been leveraging these platforms for years to amplify their business values, products, or missions. Today, companies have the potential to reach far more fans than traditional advertising would allow. With this much reach, however, it is possible that you may attract a few reactive or combative individuals who are ready to rumble.
So we, the rebels, are here to help you handle the negative sides of the networking sites. To do that we want to cover three types of potential conflict & give you the How-To when it comes to taking action. We’ll start with Trolls, go into Bullies, and end with The Misguided.
You know those people that just thrive on conflict? They find any chance they get to insert their opinion, which is most of the time off-topic and not aimed at adding value to the conversation. We would call these people Trolls. They aim to make your blood boil. Knowing their M.O. helps you in deciding whether or not to react. Getting a rise out of people is what they do. Don’t fall for it. They want attention, don’t give it to them. When it comes to Trolls, we advise you to refrain from engaging. Let them sit with their inflammatory comments on their own.
Next, we’ll talk about Bullies. There is little red tape when it comes to social media which is great for freedom of speech and expression. It is not so great however when literally anyone under the sun can make a profile under any disguise they wish to create. Bullies thrive on anonymity so social media is oftentimes the perfect outlet for them to spew hateful, derogatory, or degrading comments. Just like Trolls, responding can only add fuel to their fire. The best way to go is to let them boil in their own anger.
Before we move onto the third category it is extremely important to specify that, like most things, we have an exception. The only time we do suggest you veer away from not taking action is if someone is threatening the safety of your staff or community or if they are making derogatory slurs. If this is the case, delete their comment entirely and report the user. It is best to air on the side of caution if threatening language is involved. Then, take this as the perfect opportunity to create a post that addresses your community values and boundaries. Circle around with your internal comms team and make sure everyone is aligned.
Last but not least we want to talk about The Misguided. Fake news is real. Whether it is a confused customer that was given the wrong information or the reactive individual who doesn’t know which news outlet to trust, what these people oftentimes are seeking is real data and peace of mind. What is great about social media is that when you publicly address a Misguided comment, you are also spreading correct and helpful information to potentially hundreds or thousands of onlookers. You have the opportunity to address Misguided statements and the way in which you strategically respond can showcase your brand’s tone, values and mission.
Being a lighthouse to The Misguided individuals is especially important in times of economic, political, social, or global instability. When there is confusion or fear happening at a larger scale, people want answers that will satiate their emotions. If your brand receives Misguided commentary, see this as a golden opportunity to spread correct information about your brand and showcase other ways you are able to help.
When you know the rules of the game, you are set up for success. The dark side of social media can be a tricky field to navigate, however with the right tools, approach, and perspective you have the ability to be a lighthouse in times of negativity.
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