Social media marketing, like most things on the internet, is a potential mine field of hate and negativity. This is something everyone should be aware of upfront when crafting a digital marketing strategy. Online businesses and their social media marketing partners ought to have some semblance of a plan for dealing with the inevitable and often unwarranted backlash that their campaign generates.
Obviously, there are two main approaches a marketer can take: ignore or engage. Some brands might be better off letting the haters roll past them like a gentle breeze. On the other hand, some social media marketing professionals may have the time and resources to respond to every significant complaint as part of an expansive reputation management project. But in most cases, the best strategy is likely to involve extremely selective engagement.
Make no mistake, responding effectively to online abuse can make a brand look good natured and appealing. Companies like VitaCoco have gone viral thanks to the efforts of a social media marketing team that knows how to one-up the trolls and to contradict negativity without succumbing to it. But trying too hard to follow in their footsteps could prove harmful to one’s brand image.
It takes impeccable instincts for a social media marketing professional to recognize which battles are worth fighting. And it takes a skilled hand to fight those battles honorably. But doing so might prove more rewarding than engaging only with those who have good things to say about a given brand. That’s just preaching to the choir.
There may not be an exact science to this – at least not yet – but there’s a vast catalogue of past successes and failures to look at when crafting one’s own social media marketing campaign. Clients and marketers can look at that and decide whether they’re on the same page. And doing so can save everyone a lot of time when it comes to making decisions about when to engage and when to ignore.