The question for most companies today is how we wade into the social media. They already know they need to. Yet there are some people who still aren’t convinced they need to at all. They’re unsure or afraid because they don’t know what will happen.
This is a topic that’s been bugging me for awhile and recently it’s been brought back to my attention twice. One was a question on a social media webinar. It was a person who works for a public utility company and was trying to figure out how to convince her superiors to use social media when it’s harder to control. Another was an off the cuff tweet from Chris Brogan which simply said “RT @ssaber ssaber: When a product site has reviews – and all are negative… is this a good thing for the company??? http://bit.ly/TpCk”
I understand the concerns of the public utility company which was concerned about their press releases being chopped up and taken out of context. They’re worried one mistake can set off a stream of tweets and blog entries about them. I also understand (part of) what Chris Brogan is asking. Do we chance that all we’ll get is negative feedback if we open ourselves up to feedback? (A question I assume he would say yes to.)
My answer to them is quite short: The conversation has started its up to you whether you want to participate.
People are already going to talk about their public utility company or the toy they just bought. In the not so distant past it was word of mouth, today social media has put that on steroids but its still essentially word of mouth. The difference is yes scale, but more importantly the fact that you’ll actually know about it. It’s much easier to ignore negative feedback if you never hear it but now its plastered all over the web so you’re going to hear it.
This is scary… but it shouldn’t be.
Don’t be afraid of people talking poorly of you, relish it. Now that you know about their problems you have a chance to talk to those people. How you react can turn them from critics to evangelists.
It takes time, it takes skill and it’ll probably take some refunds, but isn’t it worth it?