My life is an open book… well, it would be safe to say that any brand can make that statement today. With social media in full abundance, nothing is private or a secret. It’s all a play of transparency, which is also a strength of any brand as far as communications are concerned in the internet age. Like brands play on the psychology of their audience and try to understand their behaviour, almost all social media platforms today play with human psychology while delivering content on the front-end and monitoring the same at the backend through various algorithms.
How about finding a tweet complaining about any service issues and the institution concerned either takes its own time to get back or doesn’t even bother to get back. Monitoring and responding to social media platforms make an important aspect of brand communications. It’s key to any brand’s online reputation. As a customer, one would look at firstly being heard at the earliest and secondly having a resolution coming in time. Issues can be of customer service, content, or product-related for that matter, social listening and addressing promptly always remain the key.
A customer could raise a concern on Twitter only to find that there are too many other dissatisfied customers echoing their opinions in a similar voice, some threatening to even choose competing brands and some probably having fun trolling the conversation. And the same goes aptly for other platforms like Facebook, Instagram, etc. A strongly worded post by a dissatisfied customer has the potential to do enough damage and trigger further crisis if not addressed in time. And then there are trolls, which only fuel-up negative emotions among people engaged in the conversation.
So, listening is the first step in creating a feedback loop. For Facebook, one can have a longer time gap in listening periods, while for Twitter it has to be much shorter. Considering Twitter’s high virality potential, where the news travels much faster, the listening activity needs to be more real-time. Another aspect, most brand communicators ignore to look into is the fact that social media is almost always full of negativity. Speedy addressing of any negative news, not only mitigates the impact of its cascading effect but also generates strong credibility for brands in no time.
Having a good feedback loop can ensure big gains in any brand’s image. Like every crisis also comes with an opportunity, even a negative post many times has the potential to turn into positive. Imagine a dissatisfied consumer ranting out his woes on social media, and a prompt hearing and resolution to his complaints resulting in him into praising the brand in almost real-time. Not only, it immediately starts controlling the trolls but also it generates a strong likeability and creates a feel-good factor among those who are engaged in that specific conversation.
You can even create such situations into engagement opportunities and build favourable conversations around the brand by bringing in a lot of positive news within the conversations. Classic methods in public relations and corporate communications practices for suppressing bad news are nothing to do with killing the bad news. Mostly, to suppress the bad news one is required to creatively, consistently and a bit aggressively (in polite fashion) to push the good news in the right channels. The same logic can be successfully applied in the context of social media space too, whereby the conversations if filled with positive messaging will only end up increasing the audience engagement from a favourable perspective.
Brand communicators’ ability to successfully create efficient feedback loops in the social media sphere always makes a solid impact on their brands’ image. Its perception that matters most eventually for any brand!
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