How To Snuff The Social Media Flame Before It Becomes A Firestorm

You are rocking the social media world. You’re getting liked on Facebook, re-tweeted on Twitter and your inbound links are multiplying. But, who is monitoring what people are saying about you and your business? And, what do you do when it is negative?

I recently spoke with Mike Moran, Chief Strategist at Converseon and author of “Do it Wrong Quickly,” who says it is essential to keep track of the chatter on the world wide web. “The first thing you need is awareness,” he said. “There are people out there who have something to say and they have many different ways to be heard.”

Blogs, Message Boards, Product Ratings… should all be tracked for any negative comments. “That can be challenging,” Moran admitted. “Once you understand the importance of listening to your audience, you need to develop a process to help you hear them.”

For the smaller guys and gals, I suggest you use a Social Medial Monitoring (SMM) tool, also known as a listening platform. This allows you to monitor and track mentions of your brand, products and competitors. SMM tools provide many different ways to analyze, measure, display and report findings.

Some of the more popular SMMs:


Social Mention



To supplement your SMM, you can add a Social Media Dashboard (SMD). These typically include services for Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, LinkedIn, YouTube, blogs, and more. Not only do these track social mentions and create posts / updates across multiple social platforms, but can also provide the data perfect for analysis of your social media strategy (friends, activity, audience engagement rates, gross page view counts, brand mentions, referrals, conversions, etc.).

Some of the more popular dashboards:




Another monitoring tip: Set up Google Alerts. These are email updates of the latest relevant Google results (web, news, etc.) based on your queries. You can use this for your company’s name, product name or, even, your personal name.

For larger companies, Moran suggests you don’t do it alone. “Stop being a Lone Ranger. Deputize your whole company.” He recommends assigning different people for different skill sets. “Public Relations people tend to focus on the entire business. However, social media response works better when there is a more specific role to play.” For example, he believes a product manager may know the intricate details of a product better and a regional manager may better understand local concerns and are better apt to reply.

“These people need to be trained in how to respond to negative comments,” he says. “But your job (as the social media guru) is to be a mentor. People are going to make some mistakes,” he cautioned. “They may have one-to-one experience in customer service but may not be sensitized to thinking or speaking in social media terms, which is much more public. Just because someone has been using Facebook for three years doesn’t mean they know how to appropriately respond,” he added.

Moran feels those who are tasked with responding to negative comments should:

  1. Get over the fear of responding – Be relaxed. Social media is not the place for stiff press releases.
  2. Grow some fear – Know the consequences of your actions. Relaxed is good, but have some respect. Your words can and will be shared many times over.

Your Guerrilla Marketer would add: Let your audience know you have heard their concern. If you can offer a solution to fix the problem or issue immediately, do so. Thank them for bringing the issue to your attention.

It’s a fact: You can’t please everyone all the time. With the power of social media literally at everyone’s fingertips, the squeaky wheel will get heard. However, if you have a system in place to catch the flame early and a plan to address it before it becomes a firestorm, you will succeed where your competition may not.

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3 thoughts on “How To Snuff The Social Media Flame Before It Becomes A Firestorm

    • Thanks, Frances! These tools vary in price. Some even offer a free version. I provided links to each company so readers can compare services. If you need help deciding, or implementing any of these for your business, email me at and I can provide one-to-one consultation. Good luck!

  1. Well done, Rick! It’s always good to talk ‘with’ people than ‘at’ them with social media (the same could be said for almost any situation). Being up front with your customers and engaging them will help with your success in social media. Nice job.

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