Turning Negative Commenters into Brand Champions

For most businesses, social media is undoubtedly an effective and inexpensive marketing tool. But some aren’t using it to its maximum capacity, said Obsidian Public Relations account executive Thomas Whitehead.

“The biggest thing companies care about is their bottom line, whether it be revenue streams or a nonprofit’s money raised or just awareness, but it goes beyond just having a dialogue with customers,” he said. “You see a lot of business that may not fully grasp how to use social media, they may be like, ‘What are you doing today?’ or ‘Who’s going to win the game tonight?’ and that helps spark some dialogue, yes, but is that the dialogue that these businesses really want? I think we need some more interaction as far as complete sales – buying tickets or placing orders through social media sites, but also if people have a complaint.”

In contrast, there are several local organizations that are shining stars in the customer-interaction area. In fact, they not only respond to comments, but turn users who post bad comments into brand champions.

Case in point is Huey’s and it’s involvement with the controversial bike lane issues on Madison Avenue.

“Some of my friends feel passionate about that issue and they’ve spoken with them on their Facebook wall,” Whitehead said. “Huey’s has been great to respond to them, give its position, has treated the customer with respect and has interacted with them. I think that’s a great example of how a business can confront and speak with angry or upset patrons about an issue, and they face it dead on.”

Another prime Facebook communicator is Shelby Farms, which has recently been inundated with animal rights groups and individuals alike concerned about buffalo getting ill.

“They responded not just to each of those reactively, but they proactively put information out there using that channel,” Whitehead said.

For more on social media and which platforms Memphians prefer, click here.