Love your Haters & Accelerate your Reach

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With new trends in social media branding and content marketing, a lot of footage is given to the elusive influencer and the even more elusive ‘brand ambassador’. The message from these personalities are listened to and trusted while those directly from the brand are not. The time spent pampering and flattering these two audience segments is called influential marketing.

Let us begin backwards and start with engaging with those that hate you.

Haters are just lovers on the other side
Lets us start with the assumption that haters build networks around corporate reputation and product issues that are a lot larger and more influential than yours. Let’s us ponder over our own habits as consumers. Would you take out some time to find out a brand community online to signal basic satisfaction with a product or service? My answer is no. However, if something went wrong with my product after purchase or if I wasted my time with a company’s customer service department, I might be motivated as a consumer to seek out an audience to complain to.

Any brand on social media will have its own share of gripers, haters and critics that seek better customer experience. While some people vent their frustrations on social media, many take their anger out on twitter or make use of networks dedicated entirely to expressing consumer dissatisfaction. An example of this would be pissedconsumer.com.

Haters and critics make up the strongest influencers not just by volume but the sheer emotional force of their messages. After all, who may have not experienced spending countless hours dealing with a phone service line or had their frustrations multiplied when the only response was another phone directory or auto-response email in case of emergencies? You will find that these negative statements are more sticky, which means it goes viral more faster than others. This explains why some customer service boo boos become huge online and convert into major reputation crisis these days.

Want to know something interesting? Your haters are the most interested followers of your brands if you go to see. A study by MIT’s Sloan School of Management shows that a brand’s strongest critics often act as “self-appointed brand managers”, pointing out shortcomings and areas for improvement. To keep it in simple words, critics are committed to helping your brand improve.

Haters ignite greater engagement
You spend more time with haters and critics than fans. From a statistical perspective, engagement with critics can generate greater reach. Content that generates engagement on social networks travels further. When you decide to participate in conversations with clients that are frustrated or angry with their service, their interactions will activate peer communities that share these strong feelings.

If a brand chooses to participate in conversations with clients that are frustrated or angry, their interactions will activate peer communities that share these strong feelings. These brand messages will be followed a lot more closely than the promoted positive messages.

The way in which brand deals with criticism and dissatisfaction can impact perception deeply and promote a positive message. When a company’s online representatives act humbly and display empathy, there is a mutual exchange and the bond grows deeper with the brand. When you convert the frustration into satisfaction, the audience that is watching is also converted, as well.

Prepared for haters
Dealing with angered clients and stakeholders takes a lot of sensitivity training, loads of diplomacy and some solid protocols for dealing with escalating tensions and demanding behavior. A company has to be prepared with the proper codes of conduct to be followed on social networks.

It is always that extra effort to engage with the haters, solve their issues and come out winning, that separates the heroes of corporate online communications from the strugglers. Most social media wins usually involve rapid and humanistic response to a customer challenge.

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