Zoetica Media: How to Handle Online Criticism of Your Business or Organization

I see online criticism most days of the week when I’m scrolling through social media, especially when I am looking at the comments on a popular brand/company site or post. So when I saw this post on the Zoetica Media blog I chose to write about it for this weeks class blog.

I like that they first start out the blog by giving examples of simple every day boo-boos when it comes to responding back to a critical post about a brand/company on social media or even an initial post from the actual brand/company that ends up creating a frenzy of negative traffic to their post and social media page.

First off I can understand how easy it is to read something negative and, without a rational thought, responding back in as little as a few taps and a click, but what I don’t and can’t understand is going out of your way as an employee or OWNER of a company and initiating a negative and alienating response about a customer! This is the last example they offer about a Caffe owner posting on Facebook negatively about two mothers and their children leaving crumbs on the ground when enjoying a meal at the Caffe.

Not only did that owner just alienate PAYING customers, but they also alienated pretty much anybody who as a parent has taken their kids to eat at a restaurant. So basically a lot of people. And that post generated negative buzz directly onto that Caffe’s Facebook account.

Zoetica doesn’t go into detail about this example, but it does highlight many interesting and helpful suggestions for how to handle any online criticism that brands/company’s may encounter. One of the biggest take-aways that I had with this blog post was their suggestion that social media handlers approach any encountered critiques as a human. Not as a policy or a strategy or a media robot, but as a human being. Step into the customers shoes, and treat them not just as a customer should be treated, but as a human should be treated.

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Falling In Love With Design…Again

We all have those days when the thing we love and enjoy the most becomes somewhat tainted by outside and sometimes even inside forces that make us hate hate hate. I’ve had many a times when design is just the very LAST thing that I want to do. And on many occasions this design dread is usually brought on by what I like to call design block.

Design block is basically the same thing as writer’s block, it doesn’t matter how hard and focused and inspired you try to be you are just blank. There’s nothing there. And boy is it frustrating especially when a project for school or work is due soon and you need all the design gods that were ever created to save you. But sadly I don’t believe in the design gods. Well I’m not a full 100% believer, but perhaps more around a 13% believer! But that’s still a 87% fail rate so basically you are all on your own. Anyway I’m going to drag myself out of writing any more nonsense and get to the point: don’t FREAK out and don’t GIVE UP.

Take a breath and go do something that will take you away from the designing madness. And I know that it easier said than done. I am a complete control freak, but I have learned to switch of my wired and crazy brain and create a care free place where design just doesn’t exist anymore. It’s in this place where I can breathe again. And when I come out I’m ready to be inspired and I accept whatever the design gods have in store for me. 🙂

Favorite Brand

 pittsburgh-penguins-parking-sign

When I’m not nerding out on design or books (see past posts), I’m most likely watching some sort of sporting event. I grew up playing many sports and I still try to involve myself in as many as I can whether it be physically playing or just watching on TV. My most most most favorite sport though is one that sadly I’m really very bad at playing, hockey. So of course I have a favorite team, the Pittsburgh Penguins. And before you ask the question let me tell you, no I’m not from Pittsburgh nor have I ever even been to visit, but somehow fate aligned and I became a fan of the best professional sport team on the PLANET!

And truthfully this class blog works out so well with how I became besotted with the Penguins because it was really through social media that a love and bond was cemented. When I first became aware of the team/brand I did what any child of the 21st century did and I went online to seek more info from the teams main website and social media sites. The Penguins do such a great job at continuously updating their sites (Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat) as well as posting content that is of interest to followers and fans. I know that for me the content and excitement I got from each posting was what really truly nurtured a relationship and forever fan in me.

The team uses their main social media sites to supply game updates to fans that aren’t able to watch live (like me who is usually in class), they really use Twitter to its fullest potential by posting live play by play action from the game. They also post many videos and behind-the-scenes photos of the team and even the players home-lives. The social media team does a great job of using social media to link content back to their main hub, the Penguins website.

I also am a frequent visitor of the side social media sites the team offers, like that of the actual social media team and other employees that provide a behind the scenes of the teams oerations. Both types of the Penguins social sites are very interactive with fans. I myself have gotten retweeted and responded to by the main twitter page and some of the side pages run by the employees. They do a great job in involving you in the team and making it feel like we are all one big family!

Social Media Content

When I’m scrolling through my social media sites I tend to notice that the posts that hold my attention are the ones who’s content appeals to me most. I think overall that is what is most important when thinking about what content to post on social media. What is my current audience interested in? What will appeal to them? And this appealing content will be different for each company and each audience. Whether it be two vastly different companies like Baby’s R Us and Goodyear Tires or two relatively closely related companies like Target and Walmart. So I think it’s important to know who the audience is and what they want to see on social media.

For me all the social media pages that I follow I already have an initial interest in. I have already devoted time and effort into following a specific page because I am interested in the content being posted. But, I need those companies or social media pages to keep my interest. If I’m following Target I want to see news on discounts and photos of new featured clothes that they have because that is what I go to Target for. However, I also want to be entertained. This is where “humanizing” or personality comes into play. I also like when companies ask questions through social media. It’s like having a conversation and it gets people involved.

This question concept is also where I think companies and social media professionals can become more interactive with their followers and customers. Ask questions. Answer questions. Invite a conversation. All of these are excellent ways to not only get to know your followers/customers, but to also reinforce and strengthen current follower/customer relationships.

Inspiration

Last week I wrote about the wonderful Chip Kidd and how he gets his design inspiration from the daily world around him. This week I want to talk about all the places I get my inspiration from. Here’s the thing about inspiration and being inspired: everybody is different. We all have different things that inspire us, whether it be from the world around us like Chip or from scrolling through the internet at night when you can’t fall asleep, we are all inspired differently. And being different is great in design because for every single inspiration we gain a perspective and an authentic design that sets us apart from the others. Think of it this way, every color, shape, font, layout, etc… that you like it is as if each of them is a single line or swirl of your thumb print. Nobody has the same thumbprint. It makes us authentic and true.

For me, I gain inspiration from the internet. There are many reasons why this is the case. Firstly, I am not quite as sharp and aware of my everyday surrounds like Chip is. I’m actually pretty aloof when it all comes down to the truth of it, but that is who I am. So my favorite places to get inspiration from require the internet. Here are a few websites that I frequently visit:

Pinterest: I know. I know. How cliché and some would possibly say girly of me, but first of all Pinterest is amazing. And second of all, Pinterest is amazing. This is the website I go to when I am just stuck in the design whole and can’t find my way out. So check it out!

Designspiration: This website is crazy cool! You can search by type of design or by a specific color. However, a vast majority of the content lies on the more modern side of design so if that is not what you are looking for maybe don’t get your hopes up. But you can still find plenty of inspiration here.

Webby Awards: My last place of inspiration I want to share on the blog is called The Webby Awards. This website features the top achievers of design for each year starting back in 1997, I believe. Here you can view all the latest and greatest when it comes to websites, online film and video, mobile sites and apps, and advertising and media. This is a great place to get a feel for what is popular now and what may be popular in the future. You can also get some inspiration from some of the leading minds of the design game!