Sometimes a person who is really angry with a company will begin a social media crusade putting out a bunch of tweets that are negative, and even obscene, offensive, or just plain lies. It's upsetting, of course. However, the solution is probably going to surprise you because it's really counter-intuitive.
Just Ignore The Twitter Vendetta
- A person who is nasty on Twitter about you and your company is probably unreasonable enough that anything you do, and any reply you send isn't going to change their mind about you. So, in terms of turning that particular nasty person around, you are probably wasting your time by even responding.
- But what about the people who see the rant and insults about the company? Well, here's a few things to keep in mind.
- The huge majority of Twitter people have very few followers. That means that while it may seem like zillions of people are going to see the tweets, it's not the case. Even a person with let's say a thousand followers isn't going to have a thousand people seeing and reading the nasty tweets. In fact, most tweets get no response, and in fact, just fade into oblivion.
- Tweets have a very short life span. That is, if they aren't seen within the first hour or two, they won't be seen at all. And of course, even if they are seen, most people won't read.
- Next, while it may seem like a negative tweet campaign will influence other customers and potential customers, that's not so either. People pay attention to those they KNOW, not complete strangers. It may seem like it's bad PR, but a nasty Twitter campaign just isn't likely to affect the behavior of your other customers or potential customers UNLESS they already can't stand you because you constantly screw up. Satisfied customers aren't going to be swayed. Dissatisfied customers are already dissatisfied.
- Since tweets disappear quickly, when you respond with your own tweets you EXTEND the life of the offensive tweets, and make it more likely that more people will see them.
- People who see the initial negative tweets are actually not likely to see your response. So, it makes it very hard to refute the accusation by the angry customer. You can't undo the angry customer's tweet, and neither can you explain your position or justify yourself in 150 characters.
If You Must Respond To A Nasty Twitter Campaign
If you are really uncomfortable with a negative tweet, you can reply ONCE in public, asking the person to contact you via another media (email is probably best). You can't resolve service issues on Twitter anyway, so move it off of Twitter quickly. You may also want to send a direct message if the current Twitter rules permit that (they keep changing, and it's not always possible to send a DM to someone who isn't following you.