We have advertised on political talk shows, and with that comes some degree of risk associated with the content. On occasion, a radio host will make outrageous or inflammatory comments that incite a political group. Typically the “group” uses the outrageous comments to promote their agenda, and so the mud slinging begins.
Like many companies today, we use social media tools such as Twitter and Facebook to listen and engage with customers and the broader community. Several months back something new happened, our web conferencing product became part of a trending topic on Twitter, but not in a positive way.
We started seeing tweets about our brand with comments such as “boycott”, not something you want to wake up to on a Monday. Because of the sheer volume of noise around the controversy we decided to suspend our media. Giving us the opportunity to gather our thoughts and determine next steps.
We decided that instead of using traditional PR tactics to address the controversy, we would release a single tweet from our branded Twitter account, and then listen. The tweet had no links, and it read something to the effect, “…we have suspended our media and we will re-evaluate…”. As expected, the tweet was picked up quickly. Over the next few weeks, we fielded some tweets from our personal and branded Twitter accounts, and eventually the controversy subsided. Even though we carefully crafted our first tweet response, all the subsequent tweets weren’t scripted. Therefore, we didn’t come across as cold and unsympathetic. The communication was genuine and honest, and the community responded positively.
I am not suggesting that using a single tweet to manage adversity is always the best solution. In some cases, public outreach via a press release with relevant links is needed. However, in this case we felt the best solution was to speak to the community in the same voice and using the same tool from which it originated. Speaking for myself, the lesson learned pertained to honesty and transparency, and the power of the tools on the social web.
So what does this have to do with workshifting? The method we used to resolve the conflict didn’t require us to higher a PR firm, a consultant or use an expensive press release distribution tool. The free tools are available to workshifters of any size. The tools are not the exclusive domain of large, well funded companies.
So if you’re starting a company founded upon workshifting, you have the ability to use the social media tools with the same level of scale and effectiveness as a large company can, and in many cases even better.
Have you used the tools to manage adversity? I’d love to hear your stories.
Photo by: Matt Hamm