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PREPARING AND DEALING WITH SOCIAL MEDIA
NEGATIVITY AND ACTIVISM
JOEL TURNER – HEAD OF CONTENT STRATEGY
• Lead Blueclaw’s Development/Design & Online
PR/Social Media teams
• Have worked i...
SOCIAL MEDIA ACTIVISM
• At its best can bring about significant political and social
change
• Social media has changed the...
THE RISE OF ‘SLACKTIVISM’
• ‘Slacktivism’: a trickle can quickly become a flood
• Activism can be as simple as a ‘Like’ or...
WHO ARE SOCIAL MEDIA ACTIVISTS
Complainer
• Feel frustrated at a lack of response via conventional
channels
• Savvy enough...
PROTEST V COMPLAINT V CAMPAIGN
Protest: Link to
petition with
190,000 signatures
Complaint: Concerns
about customer
servic...
COMPLAINT > CAMPAIGN
• Complaints can snowball into campaigns,
particularly if they go unanswered, or are
unsatisfactorily...
PROTEST > CAMPAIGN
• Protests can turn into
consumer activism
Campaigns
• Consumers conflate issues
and make ‘ethical’
pur...
WHY WOULD THEY TARGET YOUR BRAND
• Trust in Energy sector among consumers is at
59% (Edelman Trustbarometer 2014), by
comp...
WHAT IS THE IMPACT?
• Reputational damage on social media
• Negative media publicity if activism is
covered by mainstream ...
PREPARING FOR A CRISIS
• Delineate who is dealing with different types
of activism – Complaints/Protests/Campaigns
at the ...
HOW TO SPOT ACTIVISTS
• Active monitoring (Brandwatch, Radian 6)
• Across social media
• Across the internet at large
• Ke...
HOW TO INTERCEPT
• Research context and customer
• Fully understand the issue and context.
• Coordinate across teams
• Int...
HOW TO ENGAGE
• Carefully consider when and how to engage
• Preparation is key – 15 minutes on Twitter and 60
minutes on F...
HOW DO WE SET THE AGENDA?
“If you don’t like
what’s being said,
change the
conversation.”
CONTENT AND DATA PLAY A ROLE
• Payday and short-term loans sector has
been pilloried in recent years
• Media, government, ...
CONTROL FEEDBACK
• First Direct Lab gives the brand an
opportunity to control feedback on
products and services
• Similar ...
BRING FAQs TO LIFE
• ‘Ask & Answer’ resource developed by
Thomas Cook to deal with customer Q&A
• Every new question adds ...
BUILDING ADVOCATES
• Events: make individuals feel special via
briefings, visits and other real-world
activities
• No pers...
QUESTIONS
@joelturner joel.turner@blueclaw.co.uk
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Preparing and Dealing with Social Media Negativity and Activism

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My presentation from the SMI Social Media in the Utilities Sector conference, which took place on April 3rd, 2014.

Published in: Marketing
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Preparing and Dealing with Social Media Negativity and Activism

  1. 1. PREPARING AND DEALING WITH SOCIAL MEDIA NEGATIVITY AND ACTIVISM
  2. 2. JOEL TURNER – HEAD OF CONTENT STRATEGY • Lead Blueclaw’s Development/Design & Online PR/Social Media teams • Have worked in PR and Comms for nine years – the last five of which have had a strong digital dimension • Co-owned a boutique Online PR and Social Media agency for three years • Have worked on a range of communications projects and campaigns, including dealing with Crisis PR and Reputation Management.
  3. 3. SOCIAL MEDIA ACTIVISM • At its best can bring about significant political and social change • Social media has changed the ability of consumers to highlight poor corporate practice • Self-publishing via social media and a liberal society lead to a plurality of opinions and viewpoints • Important to separate principled opinion (Protest), self- interested agitation (Complaint), and planned and targeted communication (Campaign) • Need to take into account social, political and consumer motivations • PR earns its stripes and gains new skill badges.
  4. 4. THE RISE OF ‘SLACKTIVISM’ • ‘Slacktivism’: a trickle can quickly become a flood • Activism can be as simple as a ‘Like’ or ‘Retweet’ • Opinion or cause may not be strongly supported • Self-interest can be painted as consumer/social/political activism • Hard to distinguish if some opinions or viewpoints are really widespread.
  5. 5. WHO ARE SOCIAL MEDIA ACTIVISTS Complainer • Feel frustrated at a lack of response via conventional channels • Savvy enough to know that complaining on social media will gain attention. Protester • Strongly held political views brought to bear on brand • Well-organised, but unlikely to have considerable mainstream support. Campaigner • Consumer-focused • Interested in rectifying wrongs and helping others to do so.
  6. 6. PROTEST V COMPLAINT V CAMPAIGN Protest: Link to petition with 190,000 signatures Complaint: Concerns about customer service Campaign: Helping others with a common customer service issue
  7. 7. COMPLAINT > CAMPAIGN • Complaints can snowball into campaigns, particularly if they go unanswered, or are unsatisfactorily resolved • The issue can easily be spotted by a Campaigner and latched upon • Typically this role was assumed by consumer rights media outlets (e.g. Which?) but now anyone with a blog, social media accounts and a little time can be just as powerful. Complaint Campaign
  8. 8. PROTEST > CAMPAIGN • Protests can turn into consumer activism Campaigns • Consumers conflate issues and make ‘ethical’ purchasing decisions • Recent examples include Nestle and Amazon boycotts. Protest Campaign
  9. 9. WHY WOULD THEY TARGET YOUR BRAND • Trust in Energy sector among consumers is at 59% (Edelman Trustbarometer 2014), by comparison 70% have trust in the Technology sector, and 51% of respondents expressed trust in the Media and Banking sectors • Ofgem said it found that 43% of customers did not trust energy companies to be clear and honest about prices • Poor publicity: • Energy prices and price collusion • Energy sources (e.g. Fracking and Nuclear) • Scare stories regarding energy security.
  10. 10. WHAT IS THE IMPACT? • Reputational damage on social media • Negative media publicity if activism is covered by mainstream media • Negative search result listings can damage consumer perceptions of the brand • Brands can fall into a spiral of negativity – every piece of communication is negatively portrayed.
  11. 11. PREPARING FOR A CRISIS • Delineate who is dealing with different types of activism – Complaints/Protests/Campaigns at the earliest stages • Consider the impact across channels • Search – increase your search footprint, take up more real estate for key search terms. New site sections, new web properties, social media profiles etc • Develop reactive responses – social media updates, press statements.
  12. 12. HOW TO SPOT ACTIVISTS • Active monitoring (Brandwatch, Radian 6) • Across social media • Across the internet at large • Keywords – not just brand, keep expanding. • Cross-channel identification • Something happening off-line could become a problem on social • Keep an eye on reaction to company news and announcements • Use CRM data from call centres. • Track sentiment • Imperfect, but can alert you to problems • Try to trace the source of negative sentiment.
  13. 13. HOW TO INTERCEPT • Research context and customer • Fully understand the issue and context. • Coordinate across teams • Integrate media relations, social media and digital marketing functions – sharing intelligence via briefings. • Prepare your response • Can this be handled via engagement? Or do you need to pursue a different approach?
  14. 14. HOW TO ENGAGE • Carefully consider when and how to engage • Preparation is key – 15 minutes on Twitter and 60 minutes on Facebook • While it seems counter-intuitive, it could pay to monitor the situation and do nothing • Don’t start an argument, just deal with the facts at hand – armed with some strong collateral • Don’t ‘counter-broadcast’ • Do seek to move the debate away from the channel if possible – is this the right forum? Will you be successful?
  15. 15. HOW DO WE SET THE AGENDA? “If you don’t like what’s being said, change the conversation.”
  16. 16. CONTENT AND DATA PLAY A ROLE • Payday and short-term loans sector has been pilloried in recent years • Media, government, charities and campaign groups have all attacked the sector • Wonga leads the industry and has opted to be open about certain aspects of its business • OpenWonga provides stats on customers and its business, as well as offering case studies and testimonials • Questions of openness, honesty and a lack of responsiveness are often core issues for activists • Creating a resource that goes some way to counteracting these perceptions.
  17. 17. CONTROL FEEDBACK • First Direct Lab gives the brand an opportunity to control feedback on products and services • Similar to feature requests and road maps for applications • Comments are taken and then features are considered and implemented as appropriate • Not been a huge success – but the concept is sound.
  18. 18. BRING FAQs TO LIFE • ‘Ask & Answer’ resource developed by Thomas Cook to deal with customer Q&A • Every new question adds to a searchable archive • Produces a resource that is far more comprehensive than a regular FAQ section • Reduces customer services load and creates a great ‘crawlable’ asset for search engines - also provides solid content ideas to improve services and marketing • Internal search is always a great way of understanding customer frustrations – both on-site and in general terms.
  19. 19. BUILDING ADVOCATES • Events: make individuals feel special via briefings, visits and other real-world activities • No person is too insignificant: anyone can cause a real problem for your brand, don’t forget that • Be entertaining and fun: how can we encourage consumers to positively experience the brand and understand the issues • Content should not be one size or shape: think about how you can adapt your content to various audiences.
  20. 20. QUESTIONS @joelturner joel.turner@blueclaw.co.uk

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