Responding to the Social Media Savvy Consumer

It seems everyone is a ‘critic’ these days, well everyone who has a Facebook account anyway.  Gone are the days where people would attack a call centre operator because their packet of Smiths chips was half empty, your unhappy consumer will now head to Facebook and post a scathing comment detailing their level of displeasure. 

Businesswoman Screaming into Telephone

After recently reading a post about ‘How to attack social media trolls  I was made aware of the damaging effects social media savvy consumers can have on a brand and the necessary steps on how to respond to them. The key points being:

• Show empathy to consumers

• Respond quickly

• Communicate that you take the issue seriously

Laurel Papworth, one of Forbes Magaazine’s Top 50 Social Media Influencers Globally, discussed this topic in depth in an article on how to respond to criticism in online communities. What she makes pretty clear is there is no cookie cutter approach to dealing with negative comments and that each consumer and situation should be addressed differently.


For example for issues that are known to the business and have already been publicly addressed an ‘ignore but monitor’ strategy can be implemented in response to negative comments. However for more than one negative reviewer the ‘thank you – oh look something shiny’ approach could be used where the issue is addressed but is deflected to a more positive discussion.

Brands can’t control the negative things people say but they can control how they respond. You should treat negative comments as opportunities to show your unhappy customers you’re willing to make it right. In my opinion a little bit of humour can never go astray, as in some cases moving away from corporate jargon can let the brand’s true colours shine.

My personal favourite response by a brand to one of their unhappy Facebook commentators would have to be Bodypro’s spoof video. Making pads and periods funny? Well that’s just something that simply needs to be applauded. 



Social Media – The key to keeping sports fans engaged

The sporting industry is big business these days, thanks to multimillion dollar sponsorship deals and Catalyst PR Survey high levels of media interest. Therefore being able to critically engage fans and members is vital for every sporting organisation or club if they are to prosper.

Long gone are the days where you would read about a new draftee or a club event in tomorrow’s newspaper. This information can be delivered rapidly and effectively to target audiences via a variety of social media platforms.

Unlike what phone company you use or what magazine you subscribe to, choosing a sporting club is generally a decision for life. The Boston Red Sox, one of the most internationally renowned sporting clubs, recognised this fact and therefore the need to target younger fans through the use of social media.

As the season opener approaches at Fenway Park, The Red Sox have partnered with Black Bay Digital (known for their collaboration with ESPN and Lebron James) to launch a new effort to engage younger members through digital channels and promote their ‘Red Sox Nation’.

However with social media being so broad where is the best platform to target fans?

Catalyst PR investigated this very question surveying thousands of sporting fans about their use of social media. Their findings being that Facebook was used twice as much twitter however, twitter was used the most when it came to game day. Read more about the survey here.

The use of a slogan/hashtag at the start of the season is also a growing area within the AFL. Many won’t forget the drug scandal at Essendon last year accompanied by their unfortunate slogan ‘whatever it takes’, so the club needed to reengage with members and restore faith. Their new slogan #DONTHESASH is a clever campaign that attempts to bind fans together and is broadcasted across all social media platforms. Players sent out tweets of the slogan launch, and an ad spoken by captain Jobe Watson was broadcast on youtube receiving thousands of views. Read more about the campaign here.

So what does all this mean? Kicking goals and scoring touchdowns might gain you fickle fans for a season, but critical member engagement will win you supporters for life!