You are in a convention’s coffee break, that kind of ideal moments for business networking and just met a person who presents himself as a B2B/Social Media consultant. The very next phrase this consultant says is “Are you ready to learn a lot about B2B marketing from me?”
What is your reaction?
What is your impression about this person?
If you don’t do certain kind of things in your real life relationships; why to do them in the Social Web? Where the same well-known social and business networking practices apply. I use this example because actually I did receive this direct message on Twitter after begin to follow a self proclaimed B2B/SM/Marketing consultant:
I don’t know you, but my first impression was that of an extremely arrogant person, bragging in an environment like social media where authenticity, transparency, equal status and influencing for engage more than hard selling are the rules of the game. So I expressed my opinion like this:
Only to get back almost immediately this answer:
Right away along my time line began to arrive many critics to this reaction from other peeps, qualifying this consultant as anti-professional and childish at the least, not to mention several jokes about his expertise.
Nobody’s perfect, no matter how carefully you plan your campaign execution, your messages, your blog posts, etc… there will always be someone that doesn’t agree with you or even that criticize your brand.
So how to handle criticism adequately without damaging your brand’s image? whether is your own personal brand or the one from the company you represent. I propose 7 ideas:
- Never respond, twit or update status if you’re angry. Let your emotions ease and once you get calm think about the solution, never act impulsively it’s almost sure you’ll regret it later.
- Always answer, no matter how difficult or embarrassing it might be, you should always give a public response to the issue. Silence implies you’re ignoring criticism, which may result in greater anger and more critics that can initiate a snowball effect, under which your brand will be buried.
- Respond honestly and clearly, if mistake was yours accept it and explain how you’ll fix it. Accepting responsibility and offering the adequate reward will boost your brand’s credibility.
- Answer fast, answer several times and always through the same channel the comment arrived. Ensuring both interested recipient and the whole community will receive the message.
- If you can’t provide an immediate answer, due the issue’s complexity, say it openly promising you’ll soon do so. Act as fast as you can and give the answer within the next hours or a day maximum; social media is an extremely fast pace environment where a small misunderstanding may become a brand’s public relations crisis within hours, or even minutes.
- Do not be defensive; it may turn against you in a bad manner. If it wasn’t your fault go to the problem roots, find out how and where the misunderstanding began and explain it clearly to the community.
- Last but maybe the most significant for the future: be ready to change. If criticism is valid why not accept it and incorporate that feedback on your campaign, topic or process? You’ll win tons of trust from the community.