Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Dealing with Negative User Generated Content in the Social Media

As social media technologies increasingly facilitate personal expression, the likelihood of negative user generated content appearing online increases exponentially. Whilst many organizations fear the backlash of negative content, citing this as a reason for failing to engage in the social media, such a mentality is incredibly naive. As my good friend Danny Brown recently observed, you can be sure that someone is saying something negative about your organisation on the internet, irrespective of the depth of your online presence. This statement is increasingly relevant, particularly as the number of new social media technologies introduced on a near daily basis continues to rise. Addressing these online concerns is therefore the only solution for ensuring the ongoing viability of your business.

I am often dubious of recommendations condoning the use of legal action as a deterant against negative
user generated content. In the social media this strategy will fail. Threats made against the content's author will invariably be used against you, hence this action is unlikely to assist the organisation
in the battle against criticism. Nevertheless, many authors continue to encourage the use of such tactics, particularly in the case of '' websites. In my opinion this is the worst possible route to resolution. Legal battles are invariably brought to the attention of the community at large, and the organisation is more often than not painted as the villain.

In the
case of negative campaign sites, also known as '' sites, the organisation should recognize that the site's author was suitably affected by an event to engage in the creation thereof. The service failure faced must have been similarly significant. Instead of threatening legal action for the results of your organisation's misdeeds, recognize that the individual may represent an aggrieved ex-customer. Examine the content to identify deficiencies in your service provision, and if reasonable, engage with the author to identify any further concerns which they may have regarding your organisation. Adequate resolution of a complaint may not only result in the amicable winding down of the website, but potentially also in the author engaging in future positive word of mouth. Whilst such an outcome will invariably represent a best case scenario, appropriately addressing the issues raised will at worst minimise the likelihood of future recurrences. This is most definately a start.

the organisation should recognize that more often than not it has directly invoked the creation of negative content, there are invariably situations in which the intentions of the site's author are motivated by other factors. The means for resolving such issues will vary dependent upon the situation. Beyond '' type sites, misinformation represents one of the more common examples of negative online content. The social media is filled with misinformation about brands both small and large. Unfortunately, this is one of the risks of engaging in business. Ongoing monitoring of the social media must be undertaken to ensure that such instances are identified and a response crafted as necessary. This should be addressed through the transparent provision of fact, with resultant queries being addressed as appropriate. Although this may not be true in all cases, misinformation often represents misconceptions about the organisation. Simpy acknowledging and addressing these shortcomings should ensure that the organisation is accurately conveyed online.

Whilst the subject of addressing
negative content can fill an entire book, I hope that this post has provided a brief insight into how negative UGC can be approached. Whilst I have only skimmed a couple of the major threats to online brand equity, I would be happy to address my thoughts on the subjects which affect your organization.

As always, it's over to
you now guys!

Show the Rogue some Stumble love

No comments:

Post a Comment