Badvocates Vs. Advocates
MarketingProfs Marketing “Addictionary” defines a badvocate as: (noun): People who passionately criticize or detract from companies, brands, or products.
What the heck did you do to piss someone off so much that they now want to PASSIONATELY criticize you?
First off, let’s eliminate political and religious zealots from this discussion, as well as those operating with nefarious intentions. Even by removing those folk, there are still hundreds of thousands – if not millions – of people who get so angry with a company or brand that they take to the internet with a fervent desire to destroy the offender and salt the earth where they were so that nothing else will issue forth from it again. Again I ask, “what the heck did you do?”
If you did do something to raise the battle flag (Motrin, etc…), there’s hope. We’ll get to that in a moment.
Unfortunately, sometimes you didn’t do anything wrong at all. Someone woke up on the wrong side of the bed, had a bad experience with your brand (or salesperson or CSR or ad campaign, etc.) and unloaded with a fury equal to a Quentin Tarantino movie on Facebook, Twitter and a dozen forums – Ripoff Report, Scam.com, Complaint.com – dedicated to giving those who’ve been wronged a voice. The CEO of a prominent DRTV advertiser once share with me that a woman had been lambasting him in an online forum. He sent her an email to find out why he had offended her so. She replied – I’m paraphrasing here – that she’d had a bad day, saw him in a commercial and took out her frustrations by complaining about him. We’ll get to the outcome in a second.
What can you do when a badvocate strikes? Hopefully you have a perception management program in place in order to avoid these situations. Don’t have one? Send us an email and we’ll take care of it before the next disgruntled consumer types YOUR COMPANY SUCKS. Nevertheless, there are two things you can do to protect yourself from badvocates. First, be aware of what’s being said in the complaint or flame. Is there any truth to the matter? If so, fix it and share your solution in the forum it’s being discussed. If it’s irrational, address it in the community – transparently and calmly, please. Brands and companies are easy targets because they rarely engage with their consumers unless they are trying to sell them something. When you become part of the community, you create engagement.
The lady who bashed the CEO was so tickled to get an email from him expressing concern that she converted from badvocate to advocate and apologized to him and her forum mates for unnecessarily flaming him.
Second, if you can’t (or don’t want to) address the individual or the community (shame on you…), you need to counteract the effect of that negative post or discussion with a greater amount of positive postings and/or content. You see, those posts and discussions are factored into your search results. Do you really want YOUR COMPANY SUCKS to be the first result when a new customer searches for your company?
As I mentioned earlier, we can help you with that. Give us a shout at www. medianeedle.com.