Many executives and business owners tap into the power of social media marketing for a number of reasons, one being that it is a cost-effective and efficient way to reach a global audience and build a corporate brand.
Social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram have a democratizing nature, allowing their users – including business entities – to stand out from the crowd each time they hit Like, Share, or Tweet. Unfortunately, this is also the reason why internet trolls exist, users who post malicious, inflammatory, and off-topic content in online communities in order to create shock value or defame others. Internet trolls, along with active online users, pose many challenges to the SEO goals of those seeking to protect their (or their company’s) image and reputation.
What happens if a brand or product has sparked criticism? The first thing that business owners should do is verify if such accusations are true and to find the source. If there’s any basis for the criticism, sending out a personal message to the one who posted it is a good idea. Businesses and professionals should be careful not to respond to a negative post with a series of replies; doing so could push the negative post to the top of page rankings. If a post requires a quick response, the person or organization targeted should give a response that will not create negative publicity. If the source is deemed to be an internet troll, then professionals or companies must weigh whether or not he or she is worth the fight. It’s standard practice to report internet trolls to the site’s administrators, delete their posts, and block them.
However, defending a brand against social media criticism tends to be easier said than done. A survey by Ethical Corporation and Useful Social Media reveals that many companies aren’t prepared to deal with online negative antics because they don’t have the necessary protocols in place that guide all interactions with online customers and deflect negative criticism. Ironically, these companies thrive in a social media-driven world where regular interactions on social networks have become crucial towards maintaining their online reputation. If anything, the survey makes a good case for the creation and implementation of a highly efficient social media monitoring scheme that protects an online brand from any compromising situations, instead turning any mishaps into marketing opportunities.