Dealing with the Negatives of Social Media

Facebook FailSocial media has certainly has made a quick transition into our culture and has become the new platform of communication primarly for persona, business, news source, and organization use.

User-generated content is the foundation for social media and let the user select what he or she wants to follow, read, engage etc on their SNS.

Non-profit organization and activist are weary of using this new technology for many reason primarily it is opposite of traditional communication way that it encourages user feedback, comments, criticism and knowledge. If not used correctly, social media could hurt your reputation and effect donations, volunteers and support for you cause.

Also some question this new communication tool ability effetely persuade the audience to take action or get involved. With such a new technology, new studies are showing the true effect social media has on individuals and their patterns.

Negative feedback on your social media pages and how to deal with it on

Mashables-How to deal with negative feed back article discusses the cause of negative feedback on companies, brands and organizations Facebook page.

“badvocates” –- the folks who spread negative comments about you with their networks and are caused by:

  • Inconsistency across different mediums (Facebook, Twitter, Website)
  • Inconsistency of expectation (what does your organization want your fans to do)
  • Negative relationship with people who represent your organization

Social media pages should be clear and simple and lay out exactly what your organizations goals are. If not consistent you will most likely see negative feedback appearing on your organization wall.

The four types of negative feedback you may receive  provided by HOW TO: Deal with Negative Feedback, illustrate the different levels of negative response.

  • “Straight Problems – Someone has an issue with your product or service and has laid out exactly what went wrong. This type of feedback is negative in the sense that it paints your business in a poor light, but it can be helpful in exposing real problems that need to be dealt with.”
  • “Constructive Criticism – Even more helpful is when the comment comes with a suggestion attached. Many customers — including some of your most loyal — will use social media to suggest ways in which you can improve your product or service. While this type of feedback may point out your flaws, and is thus negative, it can be extremely helpful to receive.”
  • “Merited Attack – While the attack itself may not be merited, the issue that catalyzed it does have merit in this type of negative feedback. Essentially, you or your company did something wrong, and someone is angry.”
  • “Trolling/Spam – The difference between trolling and a merited attack are that trolls have no valid reason for being angry at you. Also in this category are spammers, who will use a negative comment about your product or service (whether true or not) to promote a competing service.”- HOW TO: Deal with Negative

Although laid out for business purposes these comments can occur on non-profit, social interest or events pages.

How the organization should respond:

The article HOW TO: Deal with Negative also lays out tips of  appropriate responses

When dealing with straight problems, a response is almost certainly necessary. This insure your users get fast response resulting in a positive experience on your SNS.

You should always try to keep in mind that this type of feedback, as harsh as it may be, has a basis in a real problem. It is best to respond promptly and with a positive vibe. This example of a response if provided by HOW TO: Deal with Negative:

“Example: thank the commenter for the feedback and assure them that steps are being taken to correct the issue or mitigate their problem, such as offering a partial refund.”

Ethical dilemmas non-profits bring to social media

In many cases the issue you are trying to support may not be social acceptable or a controversial topic.

Online users behave differently than in real life situation. The online world add the factor of annonomis and engaged in consequence thinking, not moral thinking.

Carrie James Speech discusses her findings of the ethical thinking of youth today online.

She found that the youth don’t find “Youth tend to think they cant change whats online, if they see something unsettling or disturbing they don’t think they can do anything to change it”

Promoting you cause online can be difficult to get people to notice and more important interested  in the cause. Although there are exceptions the majority of youth believe they can not make a change online.

Advice for organization and non profits and try and open up the wall of communication more encouraging those passionate to help spread the word.


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