I am publishing a special series detailing my SWARM methodology — a toolset to help you respond when your organization gets negative feedback online. This is the third lesson. You may want to start reading with the “S” in SWARM first, then reading the “W” in SWARM.

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Perhaps the biggest mistake I see organizations make online is they engage in a conversation about an issue in the public channel — whether that’s a blog, Facebook Page, Twitter account, or somewhere else.

Once you identify an issue and reach out to the combatant (for lack of a better term), you should take the issue “offline.”

There are lots of ways to do this, but the simplest is to ask the person to email you the details.

  • If the issue shows up on Twitter, ask them to follow your brand account so you can DM them your direct email address, then continue the conversation there.
  • If the issue shows up on Facebook, ask them to send you a private message to your brand page, then continue the conversation there.
  • If the issue shoes up on your blog, ask them to send you an email, then continue the conversation there.

Here’s a great example of a tweet that employed the ‘A‘ brilliantly:

This rep used the tweeter’s first name, expressed concern, then moved the conversation offline.

Never, ever have a public fight in full view of the rest of the swarm.

Remember, during an attack (even one which is only a simple complaint) you have TWO audiences — the person who raised the issue, and everyone else who’s reading. Express concern, tell everyone you’re going to work on the issue, and move the combatant offline.

Have you ever had an email or Twitter fight with a friend? The more you go back-and-forth, the more the usually-tiny-issue escalates and before you know it, you’re not speaking to each other for a year. This is the nature of a tit-for-tat discussion — you will never, ever win.

Acknowledge the issue and move it offline.

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Next Post: “R: Right the Wrongs

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This is a small part of Tod’s keynote presentation “The Facts of Strife: A Blueprint to Crisis Management Online.” In the presentation, your group will also learn:

  • Tod’s company’s highly effective PEDB (Praise/Escalate/Delete/Ban) flow-strategy for managing your brand’s social media presence
  • How to create a Negative Response Strategy for your firm
  • The most effective, compliance-safe social media policies for employees
  • How one of the most talked-about social media campaigns ended up nearly destroying its brand
  • Tod’s model of a “web swarm,” and his five-step methodology for responding to a swarm
  • How your legal and marketing teams should deal when your brand falls victim to “Twitterjacking
  • Case studies of instances where organizations in your industry have faced attacks online, how they dealt with them, and the results
  • Why your organization’s next hire needs to be a Chief Humanizing Officer and what that role would entail
  • How to monitor the state of your brand’s reputation daily, with almost no technical expertise

Here is more information about the presentation or you can inquire about Tod presenting it to your group.