If you are taking advantage of the opportunities to market online, especially using bloggers, sooner or later it will happen; someone won’t like your product or will have a bad experience ordering from your site and will post negative comments about your brand. Your response upon discovering the written piece should be very calculated and not an emotional reaction. The way in which you respond will make a huge difference in the way people see your brand. Here are some ways and tactics to avoid when responding to negative criticism.
“If you request parts of the conversation be kept private, a reasonable blogger may comply, especially if they’re blogging professionally. But if you then use that courtesy to start berating or treating them poorly, you may find your whole conversation their next top post.” Trying to manipulate a blogger by privately telling them what to write or offering them secret compensation if they will remove the offensive post is simply asking for trouble.
For example, recently Jenny Lawson of The Bloggess roasted a company for sending her an unrequested pre-written “guest post” for her blog, “How dare you assume that any blogger would be thankful to willingly become a mouthpiece for someone else’s opinions? THAT’S WHY YOU HAVE YOUR OWN BLOG… Balls. As in, you have some balls thinking you can give me rules on how I’m allowed to publish your client’s unrequested blog post SELLING HER PRODUCT.” I don’t think Ms. Lawson’s response was what the company was looking for. “The unmitigated gall of some marketers never ceases to amaze me” reports another blogger.
Another oft-tried but still stupid tactic some companies try is to offer a “special deal” or merchandise to a blogger or individual in exchange for a positive post on your company. Such shady maneuverings are bound to either backfire in your face or not garner you as much support as an honest marketing campaign. The consumers who are participating in social networks and blogs are not passive consumers to be marketed to; they are very active consumers and in many cases can help raise awareness and name recognition of your brand on their own.
I have seen many examples of this in my own life as I have Googled some product and read a review of it on a blogger’s site before ever visiting the brand’s website. Using respectful tactics towards bloggers and social media sites, the same way you would if a mainstream media source had run a negative story about you is critical to maintaining a positive image in the online world.
Do you agree or disagree? Perhaps, I missed something? Either way, I would just love to hear what your thoughts are on this topic… just let me know your alive!