Social Media, Turning a Negative into a Positive

At its core Social Media is about participation, involvement, and listening. As I have said before, Social Media is communication with integrity. It’s a two-way conversation, void of hype and manipulation.

Corporations in general are reluctant to embrace a new medium that is so open and transparent, a medium that encourages an exchange of ideas and attitudes. The two questions that always seem to come-up are, what if we have negative feedback, from this new Social openness and transparency, and how would we handle it?

Until recently, I have always answered, that the conversation about your company is going on right now in the blogosphere. You have the opportunity to engage in the conversation and possibly influence the perception of the Social Media community, or ignore the whole thing, and pretend that negative comments and attitudes will have no effect on the communities overall perception of your company.

Not too long ago, I read a blog that referred to a panel of Social Media experts at the Frost and Sullivan’s Sales and Marketing Conference in Phoenix last January 23rd. That blog mentioned a comment that Angela Vargo, Southwest Airlines, Sr. Specialist Business Development (Blog Program Manager) made regarding this very subject of negative comments on a corporate blog or podcast. She said that “Negative is the new Positive”

Angela gave a case study of how public grievances against Southwest are aired on the blog. Southwest listens, acknowledges and attempts to take care of the problem in public, demonstrating to the world that they value their customers, their ideas, and even their problems.

Angela and Southwest Airlines have given us a great example of Social Media at its best, not sticking their heads in the sand, when it comes to negative attitudes and comments, but instead taking the high-road, giving voice to the consumer, acknowledging their concerns, and showing they actually care. Turning a negative into a positive!

This Social Media strategy builds confidence and trust in a company, building brand through the consumer experience of a responsive company that cares about them, instead of the all too common and ineffective strategy of the hype and manipulation of traditional media, that hold the consumer at arms length.

Can Social Media actually take a negative and turn it into a positive? What do you think? Is it still too big a risk for a corporation to take, being so open and transparent?

Until next week…thanks for the read!

Power to the People…Social Media

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