Social activism: how to respond to an attack on your social media presences

Anonymous Image Social activism: how to respond to an attack on your social media presences

This post provides five tips on how to respond to a social activist attack on your brand or company social media presences.

Protesting has changed

Organisations’ social presences, be they on Facebook, Youtube, Twitter or elsewhere, are quickly becoming primary targets for activist organisations attempting to change company policy or build awareness of questionable business practices. Of course this is not to say the days of the old ‘hey-hey ho-ho’ chants, signed petitions and pickets are over, but there is a definite rise in activist activity on the internet and organisations need to be prepared to address and respond to these instances when they occur.

How best to respond to an attack by an activist organisation

  • Pre-attack create escalation procedures - Ensure comment traffic system and escalation procedures are in place across all social presences so that negative comments are quickly escalated to the PR and corp affairs team where additional escalation can be made quickly.
  • Investigate the source of the activity and engage – My mother always said treat the problem, not the symptoms. Identify the source or sources that are convincing people to come to your social presence and engage with them directly. Your engagement efforts with the activist influencers will be more effective that engaging with every single individual on the page. In my experience this engagement will be welcome and shows a willingness to address their concerns.
  • Don’t stick your head in the sand – Be transparent with your community on the channels they are attacking you on and make commitments to investigate their concerns and provide more information.
  • Be timely – an hour is a long time in the social media world. Get responses and information to your community as quickly as possible. Delayed silence will suggest you are trying to spin the situation.
  • Listen and respond – There is no magic number of negative comments that denotes when a company should change its policy, but any considerable number of negative comments should be taken seriously. Comments on Facebook and other social presences are like a barometer on your customers’ feelings towards your brand and products. Only a fool doesn’t listen to their customers.

Do you have any other tips you would add? Do you agree with what I have listed?

Image credit – Gaelx

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