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The antithesis of social

As the timeline of social continues to deepen, the antithesis of social has began to rear it’s ugly head. Here is a real-life example of an unsocial incident, with my tips on how to the turn the commenter from unsocial to customer.

I remember the day when I first set up my Facebook profile; full of curiosity, hope and excitement. It felt like the beginning of a valiant unnamed quest. An adventure that kept changing, with daily challenges to test the most worthy socialite.

When business pages kicked in, I was pitching and rolling with the best of them; eager to slay the social dragon, grab a golden egg and walk away victorious. This victory I termed ‘social happiness’ and life was good.

Unsocial behavior

But in recent weeks, it seemed that this enlightened place had metamorphosed into a somewhat faded replica of what once was. For the first time I found myself dogged by an unfamiliar presence.

I likened this new place to the ‘Matrix’ where the phoney outer layer was ripped away to reveal a painful truth. In this new and unfamiliar place I experienced unsocial behaviour that was the antithesis of social. That is; the opposite.

But like all milestone events, there comes a point of realisation and reflection to put things into perspective:

  1. I realised that social is the now AND future of online communications.
  2. I reasoned that any social activity has an ‘ebb’ and ‘flow’, and that by understanding this natural movement, I could harness the positive, leading to social happiness.

The social world righted itself again almost instantly and I watched the unsocial instances unravel, with a renewed sense of understanding.

I’d like to share an example of an unsocial instance – how they were handled and how they could have been handled. The idea is to switch unsocial into social happy ; 0 )

The incident

A business with a natural ease and flair for online communications, has taken it upon herself to share daily insights on the art of healthy relationships on her Facebook page. More often than not, she was rewarded with shared experiences and ‘ar ha’ moments from fans. Overall, her friendly tips were well-received.

To promote her services on a promising marketing platform, she created a Facebook advert with a message about her support in this area.

  • From out of the blue she was hit with a string of negative comments accusing her of ‘making money from someone’s pain’ and ‘hitting them when already low’.
  • They remarked that she had ‘no shame’ in nice big caps and ended the comment.
  • To many a page owner, this type of attack would come as a huge blow.
  • But for a relationship guru; to sell a cliche, the response should have been a walk in the park. I was instantly confused (and disappointed) then, when the comment was deleted and never referred to.

Whilst deleting comments is your choice, it does signal that you are afraid of two-way communication or that you cannot handle the issue. We may not be all trained to diffuse awkward situations, but if we think logically about the situation in an intelligent way, we can break down the comment, understand what they are saying and why, then offer a solution or next step.

Here’s my break down:

  • The guy in question had seen the advert when on Facebook and misunderstood how the advertising system worked.
  • He felt singled out and intruded upon after a painful personal experience.
  • The timing was poor and his mood was a mix of anger and deep sadness.
  • His outburst was a way of lashing out. He may have been eager of a retaliation OR he may have been seeking help.

How to turn a negative into a positive:

Consider your reputation, the pitfalls and pluses of your action and how you can gain the best advantage for you and your business.

As an example, I would:

  • Explain how the ads are shown on Facebook, with an emphasis on not singling him out.
    and the advert may have spoken to him directly because of his current hurt.
  • Provide a next step –  I ‘heal’ not ‘hurt’ and that I would be happy to offer my time to help him come to terms with his pain.
  • State he is always welcome on the page and to speak privately.

Internally, weigh up the possible outcomes and have a plan to deal with each one. This guy could become your best client. He could have reached rock bottom and this your cue to help him.

From the above, he could:

  • Decide to not reply (but leave you in a positive positive as you have used your knowledge to respond, thus showing others you know how to handle people).
  • Reply with an apology.
  • Privately reply (anger fashion or not – it’s then away from the page).
  • Respond again publicly with anger.

My guess is that the latter is unlikely, as by drawing attention and offering support in the face of his anger, his anger has dissipated.

Just because social networking is an online communication method, doesn’t mean that we don’t all suffer from the usual misgivings experienced at face-to-face events. In fact, it’s easier to comment antisocially when there’s no physical person to look in the eye.

Being socialable 24/7 is not healthy or natural (sorry, it really isn’t!) and you can’t expect that people will constantly be upbeat and jolly.

The benefits of having a social presence are less to do with the platform itself and more to do with what you do on it. You cannot treat your content as a press release, because the action doesn’t end when you have sent it to a newspaper.

You must consider the after affects and the reactions of your viewers and readers. Each one has the ability to be your greatest advocate or worst enemy, and switch between the two at leisure.

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