Getting Panned On Twitter? Not To Worry

Effects of Negative Tweets On Business WAY Over-Estimated

Why Negative Tweets About Your Brand Aren’t As Important As You Might Think

Q: These days, aren’t businesses justifiable in their concerns that criticism on Twitter might damage their businesses?

Robert: I think brands should pay attention to what’s said about them online and on Twitter, but generally, I believe the advice of all the social media guru’s is really wrong on this one. The effects of one or even a few critical comments is almost zero in terms of consumer behavior.

Q: How can that be? How can complaints via tweet be something NOT to worry about?

Robert: There’s a number of reasons NOT to be concerned, unless your brand is so terrible that a lot of people are complaining about you. And if that’s the case, you shouldn’t be worried about the damage done by the tweets. You should be worried about constantly screwing up.

That said, consider that the life of a tweet is exceedingly short. If a tweet isn’t read within minutes or hours by those following the originator, it really ceases to exist. Think of it like a rain drop falling amongst a billion other rain drops. It hits the ground, and poof, it’s gone. So, what you’ll find is the vast majority of tweets are not even read by the people who follow the originator.

Q: OK. You said there are other reasons not to be worried?

Robert: Indeed. A second reasons is that it will be the rare person who will be able to tell you what was IN even the tweets they most recently read. Tweets aren’t memorable. They are disposable soundbytes, hardly noticed and attended to. The exception is when a person is seeking out tweets to support his already existing biases against a company. Even then, come on. People may see hundreds of tweets a day, or even in an hour. They simply aren’t filing these away into long term memory.

Q: Any more reasons not to worry?

Robert: Yes. One more big one. The research still suggests, despite a bunch of years since social media, that consumers pay attention most to the comments of people they already know — real world friends and family, who for the most part are interacted with offline. The reason is pretty logical. The perspective of people who are almost strangers is relevant, but not so much as those who are trusted in “real life”.

I’d be much more worried about what family members or friends are advising about brands than tweets that are often from those unknown to readers.

Q: So what CAN brands do with the Twitter World

Robert: I think Twitter is one source of feedback to brands. So, I think monitoring is a good thing, but I don’t think it’s necessary to respond to tweeted criticisms OUT OF FEAR that the tweet will damage the business. So, yes, monitor, but here’s the bottom line.

Don’t be concerned about the damage negative tweets can have. DO be concerned that you are receiving negative comments because you constantly screw up with your products or services. It’s not the tweets that damage but not noticing you, as a brand, are screwing up.

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Author: Robert Bacal

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