I’m writing this posting in response to Robert West’s question about how a company (or person for that matter) can decide when it’s appropriate to reply to a blog posting. My gut reaction to that question is “Every time!” But, after giving myself a couple of seconds, I changed my answer.
Am I saying that you should ignore your blog responses? Of course not – but there are two questions that you must ask as you may not want to respond (at least not right away):
What is the tone/message of the post?
If a positive post is sent to your blog – one that is accurate, factual and is not a rant or negative in nature, you can choose to concur with the post, provide a positive review, or you may wish to just let it stand alone
Is the posting a rant, rage, joke or satirical in nature?
In this situation, it would be best to avoid the post (at least initially). Although your first reaction may be to write back and shout “That’s not true!”, you have to realize that an online ‘meanie’ is easily noticed by other site visitors too. Unless legal action is where you are headed, you don’t need to humor those hecklers with a response. Having said that, if there are erroneous facts or an unhappy customer on the other end of that post, it would be wise to rectify the situation.
How to respond?
Be Transparent – Disclose who you are (your name, position at the company etc)
Cite Sources – Include hyperlinks, video, images or other references
Timeliness – Take the time to create good responses for anticipated issues beforehand. It is important to have some responses in your back pocket so you can quickly edit them and respond. There’s nothing worse that a delayed response to a customer issue.
Tone – Respond in a tone that is reflective of your brand or organization. It is easy to get caught up or take a message personally.
I hope that helps you Rob – and thanks for the question!