Paul was attacked in the blogosphere last week, and it got him thinking about dealing with negativity online. The risk of blogger attacks is one of the biggest reasons companies avoid social media, but Paul and David argue that fears are overblown. Sure, you need a thick skin to invite customer feedback. But companies with good products and happy customers aren’t likely to be hurt by one bad seed. And companies with poor products and angry customers should research their situation thoroughly before wading into the blogosphere.
Negativity can be an important indicator of future trouble, so it pays to monitor customer conversations. Also, the speed at which a story spreads these days can catch businesses flat-footed if they don’t react quickly. A recent story involving AT&T and the California wildfires demonstrates this; the story was “dugg” more than 2,100 times in the six hours before AT&T issued an apology. The good news is that fast action and a willingness to admit mistakes can quickly quell negative publicity.