Once upon a time in the land of event response, you’d only hear from attendees via post-event letters, phone calls, word of mouth or a well-placed survey/questionnaire. These days, everyone can voice their opinion (good, bad or very ugly) in a matter of seconds – even while still receiving your services or at your event!
If you have Facebook, Twitter, and other social media channels (and seriously, at this point, why wouldn’t you??) more than likely you have a few followers. It might be a small handful, a couple hundred or even several thousand! It doesn’t matter. If they are following your event, it’s important to them and they should be important to you. And what they say had better get your attention and your response!
Did your race have such a great turn-out or check-in process that runners are tweeting about it while still at the starting line? Did your gala offer valet parking for ALL guests and they’re raving about it as they check-in on Foursquare? Were early bird tickets offered with a Facebook mention and people are sharing like crazy? Acknowledge these positive feedbacks quickly and thankfully. A simple “Thanks for sharing!” or “Glad you could join us!” or even “Next year will be even better!” will let your followers know you’re engaged and interested in what they have to say.
With the good also comes the bad. For the tweeter who loves the big race turn-out another is upset because there’s too many people. There will be a guy who rented a limo because he didn’t know about the valet service and he will complain about it. And of course there will be the woman who bought her tickets THEN found out there was a Facebook discount and will be unhappy about it. To these people, be courteous, attentive and helpful. Avoid trite, flip or “cookie-cutter” responses! Publicly ask them to call or email or direct message with additional details so you can help them find a solution offline (and essentially put the ball back in their court). You don’t have to tell the world what the solution actually ends up being for that person; what people want to see is that you are responsive and listening to their criticisms as well as their accolades.
You’ve seen them here and there. The ultra naysayers. The profane. The social, racial, gender slur user. The pot-stirrers looking to make others feel bad. The anti-social social media users. And unfortunately they can’t be ignored anymore than the good or the bad. BUT, you can’t attack them back or argue with them. That simply takes you down to their level and makes your organization look bad. Handle them efficiently and professionally. Feel free to remove their post and remind your followers that yours is a family oriented, religious or just down-right positive organization and there are certain standards you ask your followers to participate within. You have every right to remove their posts from YOUR event’s page and to even block them from posting if they continually attempt to wreak havoc. Most of your followers will be happy you took a stand and will applaud rather than condemn you for it.
FINE LINE BETWEEN THE BAD AND THE UGLY
There is definitely a fine line between someone with a legitimate concern and someone who just wants to cause grief. My personal rule of thumb is to ask if someone will be personally offended by what is being said. Is the statement calling someone a name or commenting on their age, race, gender, or social standing? Does it use bad language for the sake of using bad language without really furthering their message or your cause? These are all “ugly” comments and you can feel good about removing them. If someone criticizes your check-in process, complains about the cost or makes a generally negative but legitimate comment, respond in a fair and professional manner. Consider how you would assume another organization should respond if you had made the comment and go from there.
And now, please leave YOUR comments so I know if you’re feeling good or bad about this post (but leave the ugly at home!). 🙂