We All Strive For Accuracy

One of my biggest pet peeves when reading an article online is that it has to be accurate. Probably the most important component of trust in my eyes is accuracy. I don’t care who breaks a story first, as long as the story they’ve reported is correct. All through my undergraduate degree, in journalism no less, I wrote papers and reported news stories seemingly slower than everyone else. it would take me all day to write something that it would’ve taken someone a couple hours to write, because I made sure everything was accurate. I was so upset with myself when I failed a class assignment in one of my journalism classes because I had one incorrect fact; luckily that story was never published.

When it comes to social media, I think speed unfortunately can take even more of a precedence over accuracy. I am constantly referring to the story of Kyle Massey’s cancer hoax to show what can happen on social media when the facts are not checked. I rarely ever believe something first if I read it on social media, unless I’ve checked with a credible news source beforehand and go back to social media to read the reactions. I also rarely ever say to not pay attention to social media, but sometimes news organizations need to do that. If they want their audience to take them seriously, news organizations need to stay focused on reporting the news as accurately as possible. The publications that turn out to be inaccurate will lose viewership because they cannot be trusted, while the accurate ones will remain on top. I also believe that if a news organization is going to publish a story on social media, which they all should be doing, do not hit “publish”, “post” or “tweet” until you are sure every fact has been checked. If it’s an opinion, say it’s an opinion, but don’t make it seem like it could be fact, especially the way things can spin out of control on social. Speed is great if it is possible, but I would rather be trusted because I am accurate than fast.

The other question posed this week is whether it is ethically right to “unpublish” a story on social media if it turns out to be inaccurate. The short version of that is, it is unethical to erase a story that is inaccurate. There’s a good chance at least one person saw the story or post before it was deleted. It seems to me that it is more ethical to own up to your mistakes, which includes leaving the mistake on social, but clarifying or correcting it for your audience. People are human, we make mistakes. If you want to prove to your audience that it is a real person moderating the social media accounts, don’t pretend like something never happened. You can make a new post with the edits and clarifications, but do not “unpublish” the original mistake.

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Moderating Anger

This week’s lesson in moderation can be very easily coupled with the lesson in reputation management. Both have a similar outcome, which is to respond to, and if necessary delete, comments from angry consumers in a timely manner that will hopefully resolve the issue. For this assignment, I am acting as a moderator for a fast food chain and a mainstream news network and I will be dealing with angry comments left on their social media pages. These are not real examples and are not directed towards any specific companies or people.

To a fast food chain:

“I am disgusted about the state of your store on 1467 Justin Kings Way. The counter was smeared in what looked like grease and the tables were full of trash and remains of meals. It makes me wonder what the state of your kitchen is?!!! Gross.”

My response:

“Thank you for informing me of this situation, someone will look into it. I can assure you that this restaurant tries its very best to keep up with health codes and keep our appearance as clean as possible. This includes the kitchen and the dining area. If what you are saying turns out to be true, I apologize behalf of the restaurant that you had to experience that. You may have noticed the trash when our staff was unable to clean up the tables right away. Our cashiers may have been putting in orders or assisting other customers and didn’t have a chance to clean the counter at the time that you entered. Regardless, thank you for the input and we will strive to do better in the future.”

To a mainstream news network (let us assume the reporting was balanced, with equal time to both sides):

“Your reporting on the Middle East is biased in the extreme. You gave almost all your air time to spokespeople for the Israelis last night and there was no right to reply for the Palestinians. The conflict upsets me so much and your reporting of it, saddens me even more and makes me f**king furious.”

My response:

I would have to remove this comment from the page because of the obscene/profane language used. However, I would try to message the user privately to explain why the comment needed to be removed. If the user still wanted to complain about the report, I would listen and try to prove that all of the reporting on the network is balanced in a very calm way. However, I feel that the user would not want to continue communication with me or the organization once the comment was removed. The most important thing is removing the comment so very few audience members, if any, would see it. Any other correspondence depends on how the user reacts to the comment being removed.

All In Social Moderation

When I consider behavior patterns on social media, I don’t think Facebook and Twitter are all that different for the average person. When it comes to language, people seem to be just as informal on Twitter as they are on Facebook. I think people tend to say more on Facebook just because they can. Many of the things posted on social media require an explanation or backstory that cannot be explained in 140 characters. For me, I’m more laid back on Facebook than I am on Twitter. I think because of the character restriction, I have to think long and hard about what I’m going to say on Twitter. That is why I think I use Facebook for pleasure and I use Twitter for school-and-work-related business.

I know I take more chances on Twitter than I do on Facebook, especially when it comes to engaging with other people, particularly celebrities. On Facebook, I moderate what I say in content because it’s just my friends and I am not sure how they are going to respond to what I post. With Twitter, some of my followers are complete strangers and the celebrities I tweet are not personal friends of mine. So I actually feel more comfortable posting things to strangers than I do my friends. I don’t care if someone I don’t know wants to ignore me or thinks what I said was dumb, but I care about what my friends think of me.

Moving to the content I post on each channel, I think Facebook is where I can be myself and post about my personal life or things I find interesting. I try not to post about a high score on a game to annoy my audience, but I will send a game request if I need one because that’s private between two people. I haven’t posted something about school in six months, which means I’m actually using Facebook to be social. On my Twitter profile, you will see many retweets or mentions of other people. I try to engage as many as I can to increase my followers. My postings also aren’t as frequent on Twitter because of my issues with the character count that I mentioned before. I actually didn’t post on Twitter for over two months because I didn’t have anything that interesting to post.

Ethically, I don’t see much of a difference in what people say between Facebook and Twitter. I think people moderate and respond to comments on Facebook more than they respond on Twitter. The response on Twitter is usually just the few words they can fit into a retweet, but not an actual thought out response. I think most of the time people don’t moderate, they sit back and enjoy the fact that people are paying attention to them. Moderation for any business is important because it shows the audience you’re listening and that you care, which I’m learning in my job.

You Break It, A Video Makes You Buy It

As an audience member watching Dave Carroll’s music video for “United Breaks Guitars,” I was thoroughly entertained. If I were an Online Reputation Manager for United Airlines, I would be embarrassed that the problem had escalated to this level. Because of this incident, I would not only have to fix the reputation of United Airlines in Carroll’s view, but for the entire audience that also watched the video.

First let’s focus on the most important person in this situation, Dave Carroll. Without even knowing the full story, I would sincerely apologize to him for what he has gone through. I might tell him an anecdote of a less than ideal experience I have had on a plane to let him know that I understand the frustration he is feeling. Then I would reassure him that the next time he flew with United, someone would see to it that his luggage was handled with care when it is loaded onto the plane. I would also try to find out who he spoke to during his request and find out if they acted under the current policy of United Airlines. If not, I would make sure the people in charge were made aware of the situation so they could reprimand the employees who didn’t act properly.

United would gladly reimburse Carroll for the guitar that was damaged or replace it altogether, as well as extra compensation for the year that it took for this problem to be resolved. The compensation can be ethically justified because United was not swift in trying to fix the issue. I would ask Dave Carroll if there was anything else United Airlines could do for him. I might consider asking for his input on how we can handle these types of situations if they were ever to come up again. Finally, I would check in with him via social media occasionally to see if he had received his compensation and if he was satisfied with the outcome of this problem.

As for the United Airlines audience who viewed this video, it might be difficult to salvage the reputation of the airline in their eyes. I would release a public statement on social media, stating that we apologize for the delay, we are working with Carroll to resolve the issue and anyone else having an issue is encouraged to contact us. I would inform the audience that we are training our current and new luggage handlers to be more careful so we can prevent another incident like this in the future. I would not grovel, but I would also say that I hope this incident does not change the minds of the audience to choose United Airlines for their future travels.

Saving Your Reputation On Social Media

As a budding music critic, I need to prepare myself to receive and properly handle negative criticism. Not everyone is going to like what I say, but I would need to make sure that my reputation with the rest of my audience stays intact. Handling people on social media who have negative things to say about your brand or company can be very tricky. British Airways learned that the hard way when a follower on Twitter, who goes by the handle @HVSVN, sent them a negative tweet. This person went one step further by paying to have the tweet promoted, so more people than just his followers and the followers for British Airways would see it.

BA Tweet

There are many ways to go about rectifying this issue, but not all of them are ethically sound. First of all, British Airways would need to ask this person what the problem is and apologize in advance for any stress that may have been caused. In the case of @HVSVN, whose real name is Hasan Syed, his bags were lost on a recent British Airways flight. If I were responding on behalf of British Airways, I may even apologize that his tweet was not answered until the next morning, but also kindly remind him that the hours of operation for British Airways’ Twitter account is 9 a.m.-5 p.m. as it states in the biography of the account.

I believe British Airways handled gathering his luggage information in an ethical manner, by asking that Syed send it to them via direct message on Twitter. Once the information was received, I would keep Syed up-to-date on any new information we acquired regarding the bag. Once the bag was located and shipped, I would have informed Syed of when he should expect his luggage to arrive at his address. A few days after the luggage was due to arrive, if I hadn’t heard from Syed, I would have followed up with him via Twitter to make sure the luggage had arrived safely. Then I would make sure that he knew that British Airways would do their best to make sure his bags were not lost next time he flies with us.

I also think that British Airways did the right thing by releasing a statement to the media. Specific details were left out, but the public was reassured of British Airways’ good reputation, if it was clouded by the negative tweet. This way the matter with the luggage was dealt with privately with Syed, but the public still got closure on the situation. What I would not do is offer Syed any more compensation other than the returned luggage. If others found out about extra compensation and were not offered the same thing if it happens to them or happened to them in the past, it could ruin British Airways’ reputation even more.

Hopefully my brand never has to deal with anything this difficult or public with any member of my audience. But if it does, I would handle it in a more timely manner than British Airways.

 

Billboard is Climbing the Social Media Charts Slowly

Having a good relationship with customers is imperative to the success of a brand. In scanning all of the major brands I follow on social media, one seemed to stand out as being on their way to conducting good customer relationship management or CRM. Billboard is a well-respected company that specializes in analyzing chart success of today’s biggest songs while also breaking major music news. They currently have channels on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram which totals close to 5 million followers among the 3 channels. Their current CRM on social media is good, but like everything else, can be improved.

Billboard on Twitter does a great job of mentioning other musical artists that are in the articles they tweet. What they don’t do is engage in conversations with those artists or any other fans. The only retweets they send are when they are mentioned in the tweet or the tweet contains an article that was written by Billboard.

Billboard

 

Their activity on their Facebook page is pretty much the same as Twitter. They tag artists’ fan pages that are mentioned in the articles they share. However, they have received anywhere from two to 2,000 comments on posts just from the last few days and they haven’t replied or liked a single one! A social media team is not only meant to create the posts, but engage with the customers and Billboard is not doing that. At O.C.D. Experience, even if our social media team doesn’t reply to every comment or tweet, we at least like or favorite the comment or tweet. No response at all makes it seem like Billboard doesn’t care about its fanbase as much as other companies do.

Billboard’s voice on Facebook is so stale that when they do try to add some personality, it seems like they’re doing it because they have to, not because they want to. But, their Twitter account seems like it is run by a completely different person because their voice is fun and at least tries to include the audience a little by asking questions. Their Twitter profile is updated several more times a day than their Facebook page, which show’s me where their social media focus is. If one were to really analyze it, there seems to be a new person tweeting than there was even a few days ago, because the voice has gotten more lively in the last handful of tweets. Overall on both accounts, it’s very clear that their purpose on social media is to promote themselves. Every single post on Facebook or update on Twitter has a link to an article on their website.

If they want to increase their influence on social media, they need to start including their audience in conversations and don’t put 100 percent of the focus on self-promotion. I know what I said last week about self-promotion, but there’s a certain point where it gets too much, and Billboard has surpassed that point. I want to enjoy following them on social media, but unless they change their habits, I won’t be able to enjoy them.

Using My Voice To Build Relationships

This week’s lecture brought up a topic that I’ve been analyzing for several weeks now, finding my voice on social media. I want to be as authentic as possible, but it’s more difficult for me because I also want to be perfect. I definitely have a different voice in written form (emails, social media, blogs etc.) than I do on the phone or in person. Social media is my area to take chances and be bolder with my relationships than I would over the phone or in person, because I can hide behind a computer. That’s an ethical quandary in itself. Once I find and become comfortable in my voice, I think building relationships will become much easier.

As I look over the checklist of advice on finding my voice provided to us in lecture, I have not perfected any of these items, but I’m more confident in certain areas. On Facebook, in both my professional account with the O.C.D. Experience and my personal account, I usually don’t speak unless I’m spoken to. I feel like that aligns with my personality because I am always approachable, but not usually the approacher. I always respond to every message I receive on Facebook, but I’m beginning to send more messages than I used to, at least on my personal account. As I get more confident in my job with the O.C.D. Experience, I may start to make connections that will improve the reach of the brand. Twitter for some reason gives me more confidence to grow my personal brand of becoming a music critic, because I have reached out to, and gotten responses from a few people in the industry that can help later on.

I feel like my natural tone in my writing is a healthy mix of passion and sarcasm. If I enjoy what I am writing about in blogs or social media, the audience will be able to feel that when they read it. When I enjoy writing, I am usually very conversational and human. If not I sound like a robot, which annoys me probably more than it annoys my audience. Unless I am doing something for school, I make myself available at all times for engaging with the audience of the O.C.D. Experience and I respond as quickly as I can. As a company, O.C.D. Experience has lessened the amount we sell on social media, because after a while the same people are seeing the same messages all the time. This can ruin relationships rather than build them.

I think the reason some brands see quick response as a threat is because it challenges them to be better. When responding to a customer’s needs, I respond as fast as I can because that’s what they need from me, moreso than what’s most beneficial to the company. Maintaining good relationships by responding to the needs of the audience will be beneficial to both the audience and the brand because it allows for brand loyalty and maintaining relationships.