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In the unlikely event you missed Tinder’s social meltdown last week, here’s a recap of what happened: Journalist Nancy Jo Sales published an article titled Tinder and the Dawn of the ‘Dating Apocalypse’ in this months’ Vanity Fair. Tinder reacted poorly to the article, publishing a barrage of tweets making the social network appear insecure, desperate, irrational and unprofessional, although it later apologised for its responses.

Whilst never confirmed (and for the sake of clarity, it is merely my opinion) these events have all the hallmarks of a junior person managing their feed and responding personally to a professional incident. For those wishing to delve into the story to determine in your opinion who was right, you can view it here.

These events evidence the importance of being prepared for such scenarios. There will be times when media or customers offer conflicting opinions about your proposition. It is likely this narrative will be published on social and you probably won’t agree with all comments. Increasingly, brands are realising social is no longer the afterthought of a marketing campaign, but the frontline of a crisis and indeed the platform to significantly influence customer opinion – positively or negatively.

In the last 12-months we’ve delivered training and consultancy for the likes of Interflora, Bayer, Southbank Centre, PayPoint, Thomson Reuters, Marston’s, Bargain Booze and Motorola (to name but a few). Smart brands like these realise the importance of being prepared and having the right expertise in place to ensure an isolated article – even if it has negative connotations – is given the right response.

Here are some basics tips on ensuring you don’t proactively create a negative storm for your brand:

  1. Mention: always use a Twitter @handle and their first name where possible
  2. Use I: own an incident. “I will look into this for you…”
  3. Be human: try to reflect the language and tone – just as you would on the phone
  4. Be neutral at worst! Don’t be negative if you cannot be positive
  5. Empathise: put yourself in the shoes of the other person. See things from their eyes
  6. Be quick: people hate being ignored – at the very least they need to know an issue or criticism is being addressed
  7. Be aware: other customers, media channels and the general public can and will see your feed. Responses must be fair, unbiased and remember at all times, you are representing your brand!
  8. Escalate: if you cannot (or don’t have the required training to) deal with the issue yourself or you are dealing with abusive or unacceptable behaviour, then it is time to involve senior staff
  9. Click to check: always click to check if the comment you’re viewing is part of an existing conversation
  10. Help is always at hand: if following the previous 9 steps still leaves you short, then call Immediate Future. We can become an extension of your team very quickly!

Don’t do a Tinder. Be aware. Be neutral at worst. Escalate when required.

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