Converting hecklers to followers

One of the unavoidable situations when you are involved in social media is that, at one time or another, you will get complaints, negative criticisms, heckles, or even blatant insults. That is as definite as feeling excited when you win the lottery.

I got my share – again – today. On Twitter, somebody mentioned the network I work for. He tweeted, “Astig ang *network name*, may Twitter! Kulang na lang viewers, totoong channel na!” I didn’t know how to take it. His first sentence kind of complemented the network. “Astig” in Filipino is an inversion of the word “tigas” which means “tough, or hard”. But when used colloquially, especially in conversations among the young, “astig” means “cool”. So he said, the network is cool, it has a  Twitter account.

The second sentence was what got me. It says the network just needs viewers, and it can be a ‘real channel’ already. Hey now, we are the broadcast network of the government of the Philippines. Of course it is real. But, on the other hand, I do admit that right now, we have a very small share of viewership *cringe* compared to commercial networks.

I felt indignant, I wanted to ignore it at first. But thought about it, and replied, “Haha! Thank you. Coming soon… new programs! ;) ” To which he replied, “Great! better start following you then… cheers!”

And true enough, an email came in and it says, ” Let’s call him heckler (@myheckler) is now following you on Twitter”.

There! Humor and a cool head (Am I astig, or what? :P ) brought in a new follower.

When you manage your company’s social media, you have to be prepared for things like these. Think of it as being the Front Desk Agent of a hotel, or  the Customer Service Rep of any company. People can just come up to you and complain about something and you have to keep your smile – and your temper. I think social media practitioners gets it harder. Others can see the post, and it can go viral in a matter of minutes. You won’t see it coming. You can either ignore it, or deal with it pleasantly.

And from my experience, when you respond to posters, no matter how much they complain, they become reasonable and easier to deal with. I found out that they just want to be acknowledged. So give them that. Respond. You’ll be amazed at the followers you’ll gain. Convert hecklers, and even haters, to followers.

But for spammers – that’s another story. The “block” button takes care that.


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