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23 Feb

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Battling the Badvocates

February 23, 2011 | By | No Comments

What’s the opposite of social media advocacy? It’s badvocacy, according to Yammer’s Head of Community Maria Ogneva, writing for Mashable. Think of it as the Dark Side of the Social Media Force. Badvocates are social media denizens who spread negative comments about a brand.

Here’s a summary of Maria’s three primary reasons for negative online sentiment:

  • Inconsistent interactions. Customers can interact with a brand over so many different channels over the course of the buying cycle that it’s not uncommon for brands to provide inconsistent customer experiences. For example, do the policies, processes, and reaction time of your 800 customer service number match those of your Twitter customer support?
  • Unmet expectations. None of us like it when a product we invest time, money, and, perhaps, effort in doesn’t perform to our expectations. Social media allows customers to easily amplify their disappointment.
  • Negative relationships with company reps. Putting a human face to your brand’s social media presence is great—except when customers believe (rightly or wrongly) that the human presence is a jerk.

How does a brand combat negative online sentiment? Maria believes the key is to cultivate brand advocacy and, she writes, “You can’t empower your advocates without an empowered internal culture.”

What tactics have you used or observed that empower brand representatives to positively manage badvocates? What role does social media monitoring play in managing online sentiment?

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