PERILS OF SOCIAL MEDIA & TROLLING
Digital branding is a mandate for businesses looking at the bigger picture but it comes with the perils of corporate sabotage via negative reviews and trolls.
TEXT: RUSTAM SINGH
Today if you’re not online, you either disregard the customer or you have something to hide. Online you can position your services and create brand awareness. Acknowledging the growing influence of Social Media, Realty+ organized a discussion on the hot topic of the era – Managing Online Reputation. The panel comprising developers, digital marketers, realty brokers and social media influencers talked about handling criticism, how social media impacts brand management and dealing with online trolling.
Vikram Kotnis, Marketing Director, Sell. Do & MD Amura Marketing Technologies said, “If you’re an active social media user, chances are that you’ve experienced trolling in one way or another. Therefore, online reputation has to be taken seriously. It can be divided into sub sections of trolling, consumer complains, public image, PR and image crisis. Respectively, an appropriate response and strategy must be practiced in advance.”
Indeed, the online presence is no longer an option but a mandatory tool to establish a brand. Real estate industry expert, J S Augustine said, “If you’re not active on digital platforms, not only do you risk missing out on a large chunk of buyers who want to buy the most hyped properties and brands, but also on getting a competitive edge.”
Nisha Jamvwal, Author, Interior Architect and Lifestyle Columnist presenting the consumer perspective added, “Thanks to social media, today the common man has got teeth and is no longer dependent on big corporate mainstream media to highlight his voice. A buyer can directly complain and reach out to influence even big developers and builders to make them meet their demands.
Digital media has several advantages such as direct interaction with customers and real time feedback along with lesser expenses, but it all comes at the risk of undue negative feedback and trolling i.e. posting inflammatory or off-topic messages in an online community.
MANAGING TROLLS AND NEGATIVE REVIEWS
While, experts conceded on the need for digital media participation to keep an eye on industry trends and on your competition, the web space can also be an unforgiving space full of intentional trolling and spam.
Sonia Kulkarni, Managing Partner Hunk Golden & Media and Founder #SheDares, advised “Just because there are risks of trolling or bad reviews or vendetta doesn’t mean we should stop what we are doing. Any news is good news, and we should effectively deliver what we can.”
Prioritizing an active social media presence is the key before others take lead. As Rani Wilfred, Co-Founder, Rewa Realty propagated, be proactive, “We spend lakhs on outdoor media, hoardings and other publicity, but lack focus on social media. Instead of patchwork response, posting or comments, one needs to maintain a consistent online presence highlighting the good work, creating create a legacy of work. Such a practice automatically negates negative comments or trolls,” she said.
In Sachin Bhandari, CEO, VTP Realty opinion, it is better to err on the side of caution when responding to reports about your brand, even those that are clearly not true. “Trolls under the barge of anonymity can defame an organization, but giving them a quick reaction can be harmful. Therefore it is better to be patient as your loyal customers may themselves defend your brand against trolls.”
Regarding what is acceptable to post as a real estate developer, CJ Mathews, Associate Vice President, Marketing – Rajesh Lifespaces shared some valuable tips. “Apart from your project designs, launches, happy customers and projected sketches, it’s important to release digital press releases during important milestones of your brand. Good technical writing and SEO skills will help boost positive news of your brands more than any negative ones if only you choose to be persistently active.”
In the end, the experts recommended that brands should not withdraw their presence from social media due to negative sentiments. Keep the audience informed, along with knowing how to respond to a troll’s comments and criticism.