Posts Tagged ‘comments’

Here’s How to Deal with Negative Comments Onilne

Wednesday, May 21st, 2014
via McDonald's Twitter

via McDonald's Twitter

When McDonald’s announced their mascot Happy, an anthropomorphic Happy Meal box with teeth, it quickly became one of the hottest –and most derided – stories of the day for looking “terrifying” rather than cuddly. McDonald’s issued a level-headed response later, and noted that “social media is a great place to have a conversation and express an opinion, but not all comments reflect the broader view.”

McDonald’s later followed that up with these humorous tweets:

Clearly, McDonald’s knows how to roll with – and take advantage of – the punches, because when it comes to social media and online comments, you’re all but guaranteed a certain proportion of negative response. How to deal with the negative feedback? The McDonald’s story and their adroit handling of the reaction is the perfect time to revisit (and update) Johna Burke’s top tips for dealing with negative comments online.

1. Stay calm. Don’t let your adrenaline (fight or flight urge) get the best of you and cloud your judgment.

2. Respond publicly. Mirroring the original format is very powerful. If the original announcement was made on Twitter, put out a public Twitter response; same goes with any other platform. Domino’s Pizza’s viral video crisis and response in 2009 is an excellent case study.

3. Be courteous. Offer acknowledgement or an apology, whichever is most appropriate, with sincerity and gratitude for the opportunity to address the matter. If you run into a troll, refrain from calling them out until you’ve done your due diligence on their misdeed or erroneous feedback.

4. Provide resolution. In some cases this means a refund or some other compensation for the problem. In other cases this will mean “agreeing to disagree” on what is fair and what you can do based on the feedback.

5. Reflect. Consider the following options:

a. Why did this person make their grievance public?

b. Was this the only forum available to address the concern?

c. What are the opportunities you have to improve your product or service to strengthen your relationship with all of your customers?

d. Did you resolve the issue?

6. Be thankful. REMEMBER: Negative can be positive. Your public response will demonstrate your commitment to your clientele. Also, when a customer is talking to you, even if it’s negatively, you are still communicating and can improve the situation.

And, as McDonald’s has shown, a little humor can go a long way.

You can check out Mack Collier’s research on responding to negative comments, and of course, it never hurts to update your social media crisis communications plan.

How do you respond to negative comments, and what recommendations do you have for dealing with them?

Outlander and the Power of the Fan Base

Tuesday, January 14th, 2014
flickr user Eva Rinaldi Celebrity and Live Music Photographer

flickr user Eva Rinaldi Celebrity and Live Music Photographer

The digital age has given fan bases and brand advocates the tools to unite with unprecedented speed and volume, something Variety no doubt learned this weekend when one of their writers incited a fan firestorm.

The Television Critics Association winter press tour began last week, and naturally, television critics were covering it in force, one of them being Malina Saval, associate features editor at Variety. In her article, “12 Cable Shows That TCA Convinced Us to Watch,” Saval mentioned Starz’s upcoming series Outlander. Here’s how she described it:

“This new series is based on the internationally bestselling novels by Diana Gabaldon that bored middle-age housewives have been going absolutely bananas over. It’s set in the 1700′s, involves time travel and sexy period-piece costumes, and its Harlequin Romance-esque plot is sure to fuel breathy playground chatter for the next year. “

A few months back, we noted how successful Starz’s viral campaign became even before the shooting began. That success was – and still is – due in large part to a vast and very dedicated fan base. A few people in that fan base saw Saval’s article, posted it to online fan groups, and some of the fans mobilized. Variety’s articles usually get comments in the single digits, but Saval’s article has nearly 500 comments at the time of posting, every single one of which refutes Saval’s characterization of Outlander and its fan base.

I’m a fan of the books (and, if it matters, neither middle-aged nor housewife). But I don’t have to be to see that Saval’s comments were incorrect (the books are not genre romance novels, and ergo cannot be Harlequin) and, more importantly, misogynist; Saval not only implied that female tastes are inherently “frivolous,”* but that by virtue of the series being popular with women, it’s not to be taken seriously. This synopsis also did nothing to endear the many men who enjoy the series.

My first instinct was to think that Saval had inadvertently caused the flurry of comments with a flippant two-sentence synopsis. But let’s also acknowledge that journalists are in a tough spot: in a contracting profession with heavy emphasis on digital presence, there’s pressure to get high traffic and rankings. So it’s conceivable that, in trying to garner page views with a segment that is not Variety’s primary audience, Saval, knowing the strength of the Outlander fan base, phrased her synopsis as she did in a bid to reap comments and page views. Machiavellian? Yes. Effective? Very.

Perhaps the most perplexing aspect of the whole situation was the 48 hours of silence from Variety and Saval. Engagement – with your fans, your readers, even with your badvocates – is one of the top credos of modern-day PR, and the comments went unacknowledged until yesterday afternoon, when Saval tweeted:

Screen Shot 2014-01-13 at 9.45.14 PM

If Saval’s comments weren’t intentionally provocative, her response certainly was. Comparing fans’ responses to a fatwa isn’t engagement – it’s on the verge of trolling, and is a pretty great example of how not to respond if you actually want to engage. And while PR bandies the word “engage” around a lot, we need to recognize that it goes far beyond making a melodramatic comparison to political persecution; it’s about reaching out to those who have had a negative response and acknowledging their experience. Community is about the conversation; it’s what makes the comment sections important in online media.

If the tone of her initial synopsis wasn’t intentional, Saval unwittingly turned herself into a classic example of one of the tenets of PR: don’t underestimate the power of a fan base. It doesn’t matter if it’s your base or someone else’s fan base, because there will be backlash.

That’s why engaging your fan base is so incredibly vital: Your fans and advocates are crucial to your success. One of the reasons the Outlander television series has almost every fan on board is because the main cast, writers, producers, author, and even the costume designer continually engage with fans on Twitter. They make the fans a part of the brand they already love, and respect them for who they are. When you nurture your audience like that, they come to your defense in force; when you ignore them, they’re left with a bitter taste and negative feelings.

*Quotation marks connoting not that Saval said such tastes are frivolous, but that “chick lit” and romance novels get the (undeserved) reputation of being frivolous

I Want To Live In The Future Too! QR Codes And The Storytelling Experience

Wednesday, October 27th, 2010

Denise Giacin*

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of attending a PRSA-NY book signing at Baruch College/CUNY for Nick Bilton’s new book I Live In The Future & Here’s How It Works. New York Times reporter and Bits blog technology writer, Nick Bilton presented his book and offered his perspective of the changes in the world’s media landscape. Bilton stressed the need and importance for people to adapt to these changes (no more “this is too advanced for me” excuses).

One of the changes Bilton points out is the shift in people paying for experiences, not content. Without giving too much away, he talks about when he actually cancelled his home delivery of the New York Times. This was shocking for me to hear at first. But when I read about why he chose to cancel, I completely understood. Staying true to his beliefs, Bilton’s book provides the reader with a unique experience by having a QR (Quick Read) code – a type of bar code – at the beginning of each chapter. 

QR Code

 I downloaded ScanLife (one of many applications available for reading QR codes) onto my Droid X and was able to scan the QR code. The code prompted my phone to open its browser for additional content on related to the chapter I was reading. There were videos, links, and even a comments section. I was very impressed and certainly felt like these additions enhanced my experience of reading the book.

Another important topic, in I Live In The Future & Here’s How It Works, is the idea of “anchoring communities” and pertains to how we organize all of the information we receive through the web. Who we are friends with on Facebook and who we follow on Twitter, for example, help make up this community as a way to filter what information we pay attention to. I think it is imperative for organizations to realize people are receiving their information quickly and from many different channels.

Bilton’s book is straightforward and honest. He writes, “I’m not going to wake up one day and say, ‘Hey, the Web isn’t for me, I’m going to start buying CDs, print books, and newspapers again.’ I’m among the era of new consumers and contributors, and we’re looking for new forms of content and storytelling.”

If you are struggling to get a grasp on these concepts, I strongly suggest you pick up I Live In The Future & Here’s How It Works. Other topics in Bilton’s book discuss the correlation between video games and the performance of surgeons, how our brains adapt to change, the concept of “1, 2, 10”, and technologies in the not-so-distant future.  

If you’ve read Bilton’s book, what are some of the points you found most relevant to the communications industry? How will you be applying his concepts to your next PR or marketing initiative? Please share your thoughts with me and the readers of BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas.


*Bio: Prior to joining the BurrellesLuce Client Service team in 2008, Denise worked in the marketing industry for three years. She holds a bachelor’s degree in communications from the University of Connecticut, where she gained experience interning in PR and working for student organizations. By engaging readers on the Fresh Ideas blog Denise hopes to further her understanding of client needs. In her spare time, she is passionate about Team in Training (The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s charity sports training program) and baking cupcakes. Her claim to fame: red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. LinkedIn: dgiacin Twitter: @denise10283 Facebook: BurrellesLuce 

Social Media and Negativity: Turn That Frown Upside-down

Thursday, August 19th, 2010

by Denise Giacin*

Flickr Image: striatic / hobvias sudoneighm

Flickr Image: striatic / hobvias sudoneighm

A couple weeks ago, in my quest to understand this global monster called social media, I wrote a piece on Fresh Ideas called, Social Media: The New Solitaire?. That post generated a lot of chatter over whether or not a company should allow employees to use social media. This week, I want to build off of it and discuss social media in regards to negativity. Is it possible that some corporations are afraid to use social media because of negative backlash and not because they are concerned with employees slacking off?

Sure, utilizing a social media platform for your company does make you more susceptible to negative comments, but shouldn’t the positive outweigh the negative? How about taking this idea a step further… what if you could show your customers how well you handle negativity by using social media to be proactive or to handle an issue if it does arise? Allow me to explain.

Last week I was patiently (okay, rather impatiently) waiting for my brand spanking new Droid X to arrive. I casually tweeted, “repetitively clicking on a shipment tracking number isn’t going to make it get here any faster #FedEx #whatilearnedtoday.” 

I didn’t mean for this to come across as negative. Although, I suppose if you’re FedEx you wouldn’t want me complaining about the speed of packages being delivered. To my complete shock I received a tweet back from @FedexLaShelia saying “@denise10283 This is Fed Ex LaShelia. Would you like my help?”

Hey, now this is service! I politely tweeted her back with a big thank you and explained I was just antsy.

BurrellesLuce also has similar social media practices in place. As a company, we will respond to blog, Twitter, and Facebook postings to name a few. We want to know what our customers are saying and choose to take an active role in responding to all inquiries – positive or negative. I can say from personal experience that every inquiry, I’ve responded to, we were able to resolve the issue and I was able to gain some valuable learning experience.

In my opinion, for that reason alone, I can say it is worth it to monitor and actively participate in social media, but you have to do both.  Every company would love to hear positive comments (who wouldn’t?) but I believe it’s the relationships you can salvage by paying particular attention to the negative comments that are the most important.

Does your company have a plan in place for dealing with negativity on social media? Do you have any tips you can share? 


*Bio: Prior to joining the BurrellesLuce Client Service team in 2008, Denise worked in the marketing industry for three years. She holds a bachelor’s degree in communications from the University of Connecticut, where she gained experience interning in PR and working for student organizations. By engaging readers on the Fresh Ideas blog Denise hopes to further her understanding of client needs. In her spare time, she is passionate about Team in Training (The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s charity sports training program) and baking cupcakes. Her claim to fame: red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. LinkedIn: dgiacin Twitter: @denise10283 Facebook: BurrellesLuce

Is Digital Media Changing PR’s Role in News-Gathering?

Wednesday, August 18th, 2010
Flickr Image:

Flickr Image:

The Oriella PR Network issued their 2010 Digital Journalism Study recently. The survey consisted of 770 journalists across 15 countries, and is used to find out how digital media has changed the nature of news-gathering. In reviewing this study, I naturally paid the most attention to those items that directly affect public relations and media relations practitioners. 

For example, according to the report, “interest in traditional news content remains healthy.”  Results showed:

  • 75 percent of journalists surveyed indicated they like to receive emailed press releases, and
  • 52 percent want to receive still photography.

Interestingly, demand for social media news releases (SMNRs), chosen by 19 percent of journalists in 2008’s survey, and 15 percent in 2009, has leveled off at 16 percent in 2010.  

  • Video content has fallen to 27.5 percent from 35 percent.
  • Audio / podcasts have fallen to 15 percent from 19 percent.

The report notes it is possible that these declines may be due to the fact that publications have the capabilities to produce their own multi-media content now. Previously they were more reliant on content from third parties.

Considering the international reach of this survey, I was curious if our own U.S.-based media followed suit. I set-up a (very un-scientific) three-question survey on PollDaddy and asked my Twitter and LinkedIn journalist connections to respond. There were only a handful of responses, but the poll answered my question.

  • 85 percent of journalists who responded to my survey indicated they prefer to be contacted via email. 
  • 44 percent said it was okay to contact via Twitter, but keep in mind that I posted the survey on Twitter and LinkedIn so the journos that responded are those that are on social networking sites – be wary of assuming this is true across the board.
  • 67 percent want to receive hi-res photos with press releases.
  • 55 percent would like to see supporting documents (such as backgrounders, bios, fact sheets, etc.) and/or attributable quotes. 

When I asked for additional comments, one respondent replied, “I wish press releases had original quotes instead of marketing-speak.”  Another responded, “Short, sweet and to the point. Make it catchy. Make it actually newsworthy. Make it interesting. And don’t send something that’s happening that day. Timing is EVERYTHING.”

Jessica Pupillo, freelance writer and editorial director for St. Louis Sprout & About, opined: “Put the news release headline in the subject line of an e-mail. Also put the text of the release in the body of the e-mail, and ALWAYS include copies of the release and access to photos on your online press room. Include a phone number where you can be reached during reasonable hours (7 a.m. to 9 p.m.). If you don’t answer your phone when I call, I may just skip your news.”

The author of the Digital Journalism Study results report surmised, “Time pressures remain – it is down [sic] to the PR community to facilitate access to relevant stories so they can turn it into a compelling story as efficiently as possible.” And, goes so far as to state, “While the communications landscape has become increasingly complex, journalists continue to rely on PR professionals to address the basics of news gathering in the content they produce. Communicators that overlook this essential need do so at their peril.”

If you’re a media professional, do you agree with the survey findings published in the Digital Journalism study or from my poll? What do you wish public relations professionals would do better? If you’re in PR or media relations, how are you tailoring your strategy to meet the changing needs of journalists? Please share your thoughts with me and the readers of BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas.