What do You Learn from Criticism?

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You come home from work and you want to kick back and watch TV, but your spouse nags you for leaving your plates out. Yes, you shouldn’t have left it out, but you’re tired and you don’t want to deal with it as soon as you get home. Do you respond positively or negatively to such criticism?

Introspection can be difficult when we hear things we don’t want to hear. Even though the timing is bad in this scenario, at least your spouse is right that you shouldn’t leave a mess in the house for him or her to clean up. But you customers are always (well, usually) right too, and the situation is never “wrong” for them to criticize you. You want them to buy products from you so you are the one who must persuade them even if they are being fickle.

Introspection with Social Media Monitoring

Listening to negative things people say about you can be a hard pill to swallow but it also helps you build a better product or provide a better service. SMM tools let you quantify negative things people are saying about you so that you can more accurately respond to criticism. Sometimes you will redesign your product and this criticism will serve as product research. Other times you will want to take a public relations approach and address this criticism. The main thing is that people’s criticism matters and you can use it to improve your company or relationship with your readers if you are an online writer.

Learn where the criticism is coming from

Whether people are criticizing you on Twitter, Facebook, or blogs can have a big impact on your PR counter-attack. Different audiences use each of these platforms but more importantly the audiences interact in different ways in each of these platforms. Maybe people are criticizing you on Twitter but it hasn’t reached Facebook yet. If this is the case then you could try to stem the criticism on Twitter by directly reaching out to critics.

Learn how they are criticizing you

Different audiences and different people criticize companies and people in different ways. Some of them will be complaining and these tweets might not be very dangerous by themselves, but they can snowball and build a meme about your company. Even before social media, Dell gained a reputation for making cheap computers because traditional media keyed in upon people’s complaints about Dell computers having bad power supplies.

Why they are criticizing you

You can address people’s criticisms if you know why they are criticizing you and you can make sure that you handle the situation correctly as a result. Social media monitoring tools can show you all of the negative tweets or other social media mentions about you so that you are able to address those tweets. Further keyword segmentation can let you see how much of the criticism is for one thing and how much is for another. For example, if you run social media for Acme Shoe Company then you can find out how people feel about you by setting up an alert [NOTE: define “alert” in the intro] about #AcmeShoes, “Acme Shoe Company” and so forth.

But let’s say you recently released the Acme Luft trainer. People are hammering the Luft because the stitches quickly unravel and the shoe breaks down quickly as a result. But they are also slamming it because it looks suspiciously like the Nike Air. You can further segment your alert by only mentions using the word “Luft” and that have negative sentiment. Or, if you want to see who is comparing the Luft to the Air, segment by Acme + [Luft AND Air]. That way you can use SMM to find out what people are criticizing you for.

About the Author: Want to dive deeper into the world of social media for business? This post was written by Murray Newlands, author of the white paper Learn Social Media Monitoring in Fifteen Minutes. Download the white paper for free!