Lindsay Lebresco: How to Respond to Feedback, Posts, Comments, and Reviews — live from Word of Mouth Supergenius

10:15 — Jim Lovelady introduces Converseon‘s Lindsay Lebresco.

10:16 — Lindsay explains how she’s only recently on the agency side, and for 10 years worked in corporate communications at Graco Children’s Products.

10:16 — Lindsay shows a picture of a one-star review, or a negative comment — or, perhaps, a whole site dedicated to how angry your customers are.

10:16 — Lindsay reminds us that even amidst negative feedback, you can still be OK.

10:17 – -Lindsay’s big things to think about:

– Who should be engaging

– What you will say

– When you will respond

– Where to respond

– How you will respond

10:18 — Lindsay says it should all start with listening. Lindsay: If you don’t listen, how will you know what people are saying?

10:18 — Lindsay recommends starting with the basics, like Google Alerts, Twitter, Technorati, RSS, and social search engines.

10:19 — Lindsay: Listening helps guide you how you operate as a corporation. Listening can give insights on products they like, what they want, how they feel about things, etc.

10:20 — Lindsay recommends to listen for a few key things, like brand sentiment, who’s talking, context, community discussions, and trends and hot topics.

10:20 — Lindsay explains it’s important to learn the vernacular — the language, the slang, the sayings, etc.

10:21 — Lindsay begins with the “who” — who is doing the responding and engagement, and says this is one of the most important decisions you can make. She says this person should be passionate, have a deep understanding of your products and your company, and really understand what those you’re engaging are experiencing.

10:22 — Lindsay: Training is number 2. Whoever is engaging needs to be well versed in what to say, what to not say, products, etc. They should also be approachable and likeable — and they’ll need access to key research.

10:22 — Lindsay: One person can represent you, but they can’t stand alone.

10: 23 — Lindsay: We’re always talking about who’s engaging with the online community, but this person is also engaging internally — and they need to be a leader to champion social media and your communities internally.

10:24 — Lindsay: This is the biggest thing to say: Add value to the conversation. If it’s in the context of “it’s interesting,” or “it’s useful to them.”

10:25 — Lindsay: Be honest. You have to be honest, and the word you’ll hear time and time again is “transparency.” Admit when you’re wrong, and it’ll be OK. You’re human and humans make mistakes.

10:26 — Lindsay moves on to the “when.” Lindsay talks about how when she was with the Social Media Business Council, she was always amazed by how quickly other members would respond to issues. She says it’s important to set expecations with your community on how quickly you’ll respond.

10:27 — Lindsay: There are going to be trolls in every community. It happens in the mom blogger community, and it happens in every community. There’ll be trolls that don’t deserve a response, and there’ll be real customers who do. You learn this from listening.

10:28 — Lindsay talks about the value in acknowledging and thanking those who write reviews about you online.

10:29 — Lindsay: Ideally, when should you respond? It’s after you’re part of the community.

10:30 — Lindsay: Remember, social moves faster than corporate. Even if you don’t know the answer, let them know that you’re aware of a potential issue and that you’re working on it.

10:31 — Lindsay moves on to the “where.” Lindsay says that if you can respond to where the comment happened in the first place, that’s probably the most appropriate.

10:31 — Lindsay: If you’re servicing a customer in a public realm and you’re doing it in a great way, don’t you want customers to see that? Not only that, but there’s a good chance that question you’re answering is the same one 100 others have. If you can do it online and you can do it publicly, do it.

10:32 — Lindsay says it’s important to understand the venue, and be aware of how welcome you are in the space.

10:32 — Lindsay: There are certainly times you’ll want to take things offline. If it’s legal-related, etc, be willing to take it offline.

10:33 — Lindsay: You should always remember that “private” isn’t always private. A private email can always turn up online in the blogosphere somewhere.

10:33 — Lindsay moves on to her “how.”

10:33 — Lindsay: Transparency is key in the how. Having a human voice that people can relate to — that they can connect with — is key. People love to hate corporate folk — the man. It’s a lot easier to hate those people that Lindsay, Molly, Nick, or Brooke. It’s a lot harder to come down on someone when you can relate to them.

10:34 — Lindsay quickly shares her golden rules of responding, including:

– Respect

– Expect everything to be public

– Speed is the essence

– Pay attention

– Openness and transparency

– Never conceal

– Do your homework

– Identify an engager

– Nothing builds credibility like action

– Gather internal resources now


Q: Let’s say you have a forum, and it’s getting a bunch of negative commentary. Every time you try to respond, you get 55 responses of hatred. When is the time to kill the forum?

A: That may be a time to take a look at yourself. Comcast is a good example, as actually shut down based on response. Taking action is everything. That forum may just be the cancer that exists and stays there. Sometimes shutting a forum down can actually lead to a new forum of more empowered haters elsewhere. It’s about looking inside and finding ways to do good things elsewhere and then point them toward it.

Q: We have an issue with marketers always thinking that their message needs to dominate social media.

A: So that’s not going to go well, by the way. Spike did a great example of explaining: Find the passion point. When Graco got involved in social media, we targeted the topic of kids. This is what parents — and our customers — were interested in. Once we hit on this, then our products could eventually weave themselves into these conversations. Lindsay also recommends helping execs sell themselves on social media by sending them to events like this, or to meet other execs in the space that can sell them on it.

Q: How do you deal with a recurring critic, someone who won’t leave your company alone? And you can’t afford to ignore them?

A: Does the critic add value? Are they right about certain things? Sometimes you will find a critic or two that will say something that while nobody wants to hear, has a valid point. A strategy is to bring them in, give them access to information, and help them contribute to market research. There’s always going to be someone who doesn’t love you. But at the end of the day, you just have to keep your head down and do what you know you do well. Other people will rally around you. When you build up your own tribes, they will come around you.

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  1. Live coverage recap from yesterday's Word of Mouth Supergenius - December 17, 2009

    […] How to Respond to Feedback, Posts, Comments, and Reviews — with Converseon’s Lindsay Lebresco […]

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