Associations today are facing a big problem: they need to be online, but the advent of social media unleashed a hoard of people with reporting tools at their fingertips (read: smartphones) who just LOVE to blast businesses, events, and other people online.
Luckily associations aren’t in the same line of fire as say… restaurants or retail. But that doesn’t mean associations are safe from an errant bad report or simply incorrect information published online. And that stuff sticks around.
So what do you do when misinformation gets out there about your or your association online?
Katya’s Non-Profit Marketing Blog is one of our favorite blogs here at MemberClicks for the simple reason that most associations are non-profits. She addressed this issue in a recent reader question blog. You can read the whole thing here, but here are some of the high points.
1) Katya advises that you monitor what people are saying about your organization online. We think a good way to do that is to set up an alert system, like Google Alerts.
2) Assess who is saying it and who is listening. Katya makes an excellent point in saying that as harsh as a negative comment can seem, if it’s just one person with no audience there’s probably not much to fret over. She also says that you should let the commenter know you’re following them. Try following that person or group on Twitter or Facebook, and if they have a blog be sure to follow them there as well. This may seem passive aggressive, but chances are the negative comment is just a misunderstanding and this could open up the lines of communication for a discussion and hopefully, a retraction.
3) Act fast. It’s an excellent point that a particularly harsh attack is better answered than left in silence. But leave EXACTLY when you respond open to interpretation based on the comment. Sometimes it’s better to let things marinate for a day or two than responding quickly out of hurt or anger.
4) Be honest. It’s hard to do, but sometimes if you’re wrong, you’re wrong. Katya goes on to say to never delete comments unless they are profane or hate speech.
Katya makes several more valuable points. Be sure to check out her whole blog!
And don’t stress. Hopefully your association will never be the victim of false or negative attention online, but even if it is, it’s bound to happen to everyone sooner or later, and America loves a comeback!