Its been some time since brands have started using social platforms to connect with their target audiences to achieve variety of purposes. Many big and small brands’ communities have mushroomed on the popular social channels like Facebook. However many brand have just jumped on the bandwagon without understanding the very basic principles of community building- that a community is built for the people and unless there is no encouragement for interactions, there would be no engagement and the community would die eventually. These brands think that they should control the interaction as per their choice. Recently such an incident happened with me.
I love reading and therefore I became the community member of a brand ‘me and my books’ on Facebook which is basically a book rental service. On 16th May they posted about a book title where the title of the book in image had a word ‘Lose’, while the text description used the word ‘Loose’. I, being a vigilant community member informed them about this discrepancy ( I took no screenshot then) and rather thanking me for it, they corrected the post and deleted my comment.
Obviously I felt hurt and asked them why they did this, to which they replied that they had to delete the entire post (we all know that image description can be edited, and there is no need to delete post). However within 3-4 minutes of the reply, they deleted my comment and their own responses (which were full of spelling errors) as well. However I still got them in my email notification. Not only this, they blocked me from liking/commenting on their page. I, purely from the observer’s perspective didn’t unlike the page, however even after 10 days, they have not unblocked me for commenting/liking post and also not blocked me completely, as I add to their fan count.
From this one bit incident, they didn’t lose much perhaps, but they sure lost a customer and perhaps more as when I narrated this incident on my Facebook profile, the responses showed that this brand certainly lost a few more fans and business. Moreover this approach may them damage them in long run. In other incident, I gave a suggestion to Capgemini consulting on twitter about their webpage layout and they took in good spirit and responded as well as thanked me for the same; despite the fact that for this big an organization, I am not even a target customer. Obviously, it’s a trust-building exercise. A brand community is made up of people and more a brand behaves as human and opens up scope for interaction & engagement more are the likelihood of its popularity.
From these two instances, following could be the learning for the brands:
- To err is human, to accept it is also human. If you have made some mistake, its natural, go on, accept it, correct it and try not to do it again.
- If your community member has raised any issue, it is showing their affinity towards your brand, they took efforts to correct you. Don’t try to get away with such a fan. Thank them, as they could be your valuable customers.
- A small exercise like this can restore and enhance faith in your community members. We all are aware of the value of word-of-mouth publicity and also the damages a negative WoM can do for the brand.
- Last but not the least, have a well planned content strategy, especially for the times when there is a seemingly negative comment on your post. Also, give enough thought before posting the content on your community page, so that its correct in spellings and grammar and don’t take action in haste.
In your opinion what a brand should do if a community member tries correct them for any mistake?