Tag Archives: Community Manager

“Say No to No Comment: How to Answer Negative Blog Posts”

Someone wrote a scathing review of your company’s product on their blog–now what?

Well, you can either ignore it or you can respond. In traditional PR, you’d be shirking your duties if you didn’t follow-up with the reporter. Same goes with social media, except the world can see your response. Whether the post is positive or negative, you have to comment.

Here are a few tips to ensure you comment with success:

  • Take a deep breath!
    • Sometimes the excitement (or hate) can cloud a clear head. Remember, it’s the Internet and everything will be a part of your permanent record. Don’t write anything you wouldn’t want your mother/future boss/customer/client to read
  • Acknowledge and thank the blogger for their feedback/comments/insight/linklove
    • Remember, we are listening now. Whether you agree with it or not, they put effort into their post and their feedback can provide a snapshot of what your customers or other reporters/bloggers are thinking
  • You’re building a relationship, which means accountability and honest discussion.
    • Try to address the concerns and tell them what you are doing or plan on doing to fix any problems. If it was a positive piece, write something that can help build the discussion or add deeper insight into the topic
    • Cut the marketing speak and messaging. Read what the blogger is saying and respond as a human, not a PR-bot
  • Transparency and full disclosure
    • Let readers know you are with the company or represent the company. It’s about ethics.
  • DO NOT try to pad the comments with anonymous or fictitious posts
    • You may not see it when you read the post, but bloggers can see the IP address of every comment. Several comments from the same IP addy looks suspicious and a simple search can rat you out

Some stellar examples from comments in socialTNT’s past:

Kevin Cuneo’s reply to a potentially critical post in “You Are Doing Your Clients a Horrible Disservice”

Hi Chris,

Over here at Yoono we completely agree that Twitter is a great way to connect with our community. And we find Summize to be the best way to monitor Twitter. I love how it lets you know there’s more results since your last search. (I was also using it to track my replies when that feature went down on Twitter.)

We’re going a mile a minute over here so unfortunately there’s only so much time in the day to respond to negative comments and assist users via Twitter. However, we try to get to as many as we can and if they aren’t responded to, users can rest assured they were read and taken into account. Although we love good feedback, we think any feedback is worthwhile in helping us craft a superior product.

With that said I’m off to check in on Summize, looks like I have nine results up since my last search.

Great post, keep up the good work. And we’re all looking forward to Marie’s review!


Kevin Cuneo
Yoono Community Evangelist
kcuneo (at) yoono (dot) com

Kevin didn’t make excuses. He acknowledged the concerns and addressed the problem thoughtfully.

Reply to a positive post from “Dell Hell Freezes Over: A Great Example of Turning Lemons into Lemonade”


Chris – As a member of Dell’s digital media team, I think you’ve done as fine a job as anyone to summarize how the company has worked to move on to a new chapter. It’s been a wild ride, but the journey has only just begun. Today, we view the integration of social media technologies as a natural evolution of our business and an exciting new dimension in which to deal directly with our customers.

In this comment, John acknowledged the statements in the post. He also adds to the post by telling the readers what Dell will be doing in the future.

Conclusion: Both John and Kevin effectively stated their company’s point of view without sounding arrogant. It’s a delicate balance. Just imagine you were having a discussion with your mom/girlfriend/boyfriend/brother or anyone else you love but sometimes have disagreements with.

How do you respond to negative comments? What tips or tricks can you share? Any examples of stellar commenting in action? Let us know in the comments

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[The above photo, “Message Board” by Emmy_P on Flickr, used under Creative Commons]



Filed under Community Manager, Community Relations, How To, It's A Conversation, Public Relations 2.0

“MacBook Error: Six Tips To Apple On Social Media Marketing”

It’s MacWorld fever in San Francisco. I think their new Macbook, the MacBook Air, is beautiful, but everytime I hear the new name, I hear MacBook “Error.” Today I want to address the biggest MacBook Error: the thinness of their conversation in the social media realm.

Yes, I know they are on top of the world, but there are voices from the blogosphere that point to cracks in the MacBrand base; early adopters and super fans feel left out. As Apple becomes more of a consumer brand, more mainstream users will purchase Macs. This means more complaints, stretching the ardent fans–and customer service–thin; no longer will every negative Apple post be bombarded with super users flaming the blogger. To address this, Apple will need to stop pushing products and messages at its community. Instead, they will need to become more engaged with their community.

Steve, are you listening? Here are some of my top tips for Apple on refreshing their Social Media efforts to revive the Fan Base:

  • Stop trying to silence your superfans!
  • Beautiful Ads and Demos, set them free!
    • Sharing is Caring. Let the videos into the wild by allowing them to be embedded into other sites and shared. Just by sending a link back to the page is tres 1.0. Do this with Steve’s keynote, too.
  • MacBook Air: Behind the Scenes
    • For movie buffs, the “Extra Features” on a DVD are one more reason to buy. Same goes for tech geeks. Show us the behind the scenes of the MacBook Air. Intimate video chats with the Hardware Design team. Live podcasts (with call-in) featuring the User Experience team.
    • Too hardcore? Ok, open up developers’ blogs!
  • Like a shepherd herding the flock…
    • A Community Manager could address the worries early adopters are having re the MacBook Air. They can also hit up the Green bloggers upset about Apple’s lack of true environmental concern, or just common users P.O.-ed about Leopard’s constant crashes. Go and address those posts head on. Cut the messaging and speak to them like people.
  • Open up a dialog
    • Apple currently has a web-based form for feedback, but it feels like you are sending it out into a void. Make it a community, like Dell, where users can submit suggestions/concerns and then vote on the ideas. Yes, there is a forum, but it relies heavily on super fans…and forums are SOOOOO 1.0.
    • Customers also need to know that they are taken seriously. Close the feedback loop. Let them know the status of their suggestions.
  • I’m Streaming of a Live MacWorld
    • Ok, it may be a little far fetched, but I want a cam to be following someone through the MacWorld experience, like a fly on the wall. Bonus points if that fly is STEVE JOBS!

I love all my Apple products, but I’ve been a little upset since upgrading Leopard. No longer can I play music on Front Row through my Airport Express. I filled out a comment form and have not received any sort of follow-up. I’ve dropped so much money on my desktop, laptop, keyboard, Airport, Airport Express, and I deserve some sort of acknowledgment.

What do you think? Is Apple heading towards Dell Hell or are they on the right track? What suggestions would you give Apple on reinvigorating their fan base?

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Filed under Best Practices, How To, It's A Conversation, Marketing, New Media, Rants, Sharing is Caring, Social Media, Video

“Hi Mom! I’m on TV: A Seesmic First Look”

Image by Domake Saythink on flickrLast Friday I was honored to receive an invite to participate in Seesmic’s Private Beta. For those of you who don’t know, Seesmic is the hottest invite in Silicon Valley. That’s due, in part to French Founder Loic Le Meur‘s charisma plus a lot of blogger outreach. It also doesn’t hurt that TechCrunch’s Michael Arrington is an investor.

So What Is It?

On its most basic level, Seesmic is a social network for people engaged in video conversations. Because of its use of video, people are apt to draw comparisons with YouTube. The design of Seesmic, however, is much more intimate than YouTube. Instead of being overwhelmed with content, when you login to Seesmic you can either watch the most recent videos uploaded (the public timeline) or record your own. Even Seesmic’s tagline, “Join the video conversation,” contrasts YouTube’s “Broadcast Yourself,” highlighting the underlying difference: YouTube is more for those wanting to create or share video content while Seesmic, on the other hand, is intended for short video messages woven together to create conversations. YouTube is about You. Seesmic is about the community.

Speaking of community, it has grown very quickly over the last month. On November 20th, Michael Arrington reported that there were 300 users. In a Twitter interview Sunday night, Loic said the site has about a thousand users. With almost half posting daily, Seesmic’s community is very active. Loic also stated that there are still around 7000 people on the waiting list for an invite. [See this video explanation of why they can’t expand any faster]


Seesmic is very easy to use. My MacBook’s built in camera allowed me to just hit the record button on Seesmic and start talking for up to five minute. If you don’t have a webcam, you can also upload videos that you record with a digital camera. Because the site is powered by flash and Ajax, some users might experience a drain on their CPU.

Many people have called Seesmic a video Twitter. Since Twitter is text, you can easily read, re-read and edit before you hit send. Video feels much more spontaneous.

I have to admit, when the camera started rolling, I didn’t know what to say; it really felt like the first time I’d ever left a voice message: “Um, Hi, this is Chris and I, um, just wanted to say…” Thank goodness Seesmic allows you to playback your video before posting and discard if you aren’t satisfied. After typing a subject and a brief description, hit save to post the video. Voila, you message has been sent out to the community and, if you’ve registered your Twitter account, a Tweet is automatically sent informing your Twitter friends that you have posted on Seesmic. Now others can watch your video and instantly reply. And then the conversation starts…or continues.

[Loic does a fun 3-minute video tutorial of how to use Seesmic here.]

Initial Impressions

First off, I have to give mad props to the Seesmic team for creating such a beautiful platform. Scrolling through the Seesmic stream, I watched conversations discussing everything from light-hearted music trivia to more esoteric topics like the psychology behind Seesmic. Loic’s team makes it easy for the lurkers–or those not always on the site–to catch up on the day’s major meme’s by offering a daily review, appropriately titled “Seesmix.”

As a newbie, it was hard to figure out what to say. Twitter asks “What are you doing,” but Seesmic leaves you hanging. Since Twitter’s purpose has evolved as the site has grown, I’m not sure if this is really a big deal. Also as a newbie, I don’t have any friends to converse with. This, however, wasn’t intimidating; all of the Seesmic users seem very open. It’s also just a matter of finding people I know.

In the upcoming months, members will soon be able to send direct messages to each other. Users will also soon have more options like message recording through Skype and distribution through email, Facebook and YouTube. When Seesmic launches in February, tagging and video grouping capabilities will make it easier to follow conversations. This feature will prove invaluable as the site grows. I also see RSS capabilities as something very useful.


Due to the visual nature of the media, video has a stronger impact that text communication could ever allow. For that reason, I would love to see Seesmic incorporated into company websites. I see it as a place where customers can leave video questions to the company moderated by the Community Manager with conversation threads left for future visitors to see. I can also see Community Managers interacting with customers through polls, quizes or direct relations with the press. It might also be used for internal communications like a video IM.

As I play around with it, I’m sure more ideas will come up. Like any community, it’s going to take some time and energy to fully understand how it works. As I learn and experience, I will pass it on to you. Hopefully, I’ll also be able to pass out a few invites. In the meantime, check out my first Seesmic post.

Are there any quesitons you would like me to ask the Seesmic community?

Vodpod videos no longer available. from www.seesmic.com posted with vodpod


[Above image used under Creative Commons License by domake.saythink on flickr]

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Filed under Future of Media, Internal Public Relations, It's A Conversation, New Media, Product Review, Review, Social Media, Social Networking, Video

“3sday’s 3Q’s in 3 Min: Mario Sundar, LinkedIn”

It’s Thursday afternoon, do you know where your Marketing Director is? Probably watching today’s “3Q’s in 3 Min.

Every Thursday, socialTNT channels the spirit of citizen journalism by putting bloggers, reporters, PR pro’s or anyone with something to say about social media in front of the camera for a short, three minute interview. The videos are meant to encourage dialog between reporters, PR/communications practitioners and marketers on the future of media.

This Thursday, socialTNT meets with Mario Sundar, LinkedIn’s Community Evangelist. For PR Peeps with clients on the fence about social media or those companies not quite sure about starting a blog, Mario’s interview might paint a better picture of the thinking behind entering the new frontier that is social media relations.

In the following video, Mario defines what a Community Manager (evangelist) does, discusses the current and future tools LinkedIn utilizes, and (my favorite) discusses how LinkedIn translates its brand across these various social media outlets.

The new era of branding leverages transparency to showcase corporate culture; if the culture aligns with the target audience (in this case, members) then they will want to be a part of the brand. Their participation is now their vote. In LinkedIn’s case, it presents a very professional, kinda business casual feel. Compare this to MySpace’s party-teeny vibe or Facebook dorm-room ambiance (don’t get me wrong, I love FB!). As a professional trying to network, which site appeals to you?

LinkedIn’s outreach influences maintains current members, harvests future members, and recruits future employees. Check out their blog, flickr feed, and YouTube channel. Keep an eye out for their Twitter feed!

Not included in the interview, but relevant: “The greatest benefit of a blog is the back and forth with the reader/user.” I couldn’t agree more, Mario.

So what do you guys think? Should companies hire Community Managers? Has anyone tried any community outreach that backfired? What about positive experiences? I’d love to hear your input.

More about Social media marketing or Enterprise PR? Check out good ideas from Dell and bad ideas from Whole Foods Market. You can also learn how social media can increase external and internal PR .

Once again, thanks Mario for a great interview. Also: Mad props for the Guy Kawasaki/Fake Steve Jobs event this week! (I got to meet iJustine!)

[DISCLOSURE: At a previous firm, I worked on the LinkedIn team. That firm (and LinkedIn) no longer has any financial pull on me.]

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Filed under 3sdays 3qs In 3 Min, Community Relations, Enterprise Public Relations, Internal Public Relations, Marketing, New Media, New Media Masters., Public Relations 2.0, Video Interview