To the Point: Brand Slammed?
Ah, the Internet. The easy access. The openness. The freedom. And … the total lack of control. The way anyone can say anything about you and post it anywhere.
People can talk to each other about your issue without having to do it through you. That means impassioned people can easily organize and achieve social change, even without formal organizations. I agree with that upside. But there’s also a downside.
Not everyone is out there to change the world for the better. Some people have less noble or positive agendas. And from this perspective, the lack of control can give you a headache and heartburn. Just ask Domino’s Pizza, which this spring had a delivery it didn’t expect: Two naughty employees posted a homemade video on YouTube where they abused a sandwich. Hundreds of thousands of people saw it and lost their appetites.
Could something like this happen to you? Yes. Imagine a donor ranting about her giving experience, which some donors already are doing on some of the Web sites that rate charities. Or someone you support grumbling about your services. If you’re monitoring online conversations (and I hope you are), you know this is already happening.
So what if someone disses your brand online? What do you do? Here’s what I recommend.
1. Listen for it
Be sure you monitor what people are saying about your organization online. Keep tabs via Google Alerts, and on Twitter (via TweetBeep, for example) and YouTube.
2. When you find something negative, assess who is saying it and who is listening
Is this one crazy person with no audience? You might want to just watch and wait. Or is it someone who talks to people in your audience? Even one noisy person can be a problem if she has or can rapidly build a following with people who matter to you. Or if, as in the case of Domino’s, the traditional media pick up on the diatribe. I generally err on the side of judging someone worth responding to rather than ignoring negative remarks.