3 Reasons To Stop Fearing Negative Brand Feedback

By Tiffany Hopkins As the saying goes, "The greatest risk is not taking any risks at all."

However, many times, the fear of negative feedback prevents us from moving forward with  fresh, innovative content or campaigns past the ideation stage. Promotions that are sure to engage a brand's social communities, attract new customers, build brand affinity and boost sales are stopped before even truly getting started because of the "what if?" fear. What if my boss/client thinks I'm crazy? What if we get complaints? What if, what if, what if!

Granted, before following through with any campaign it's important to confront these what ifs. The key is not to let them stop you. Here are three reasons why:

1. There will ALWAYS be someone who is unhappy. As marketers we are people pleasers by nature, but sometimes we take it too far. Our focus is often on the small number of people who might be upset by a piece of content or campaign idea. Instead, we should concentrate on creating timely content and campaigns that attract and engage the consumer base we are looking to reach and aligns with our client's overall goals. This is where we will find success.

Of course, given that social media is a transparent medium,  the appropriate measures should be taken in advance of  launch to ensure you are ready to deal with complaints if you receive them. Prepare a crisis management document with legal-approved (if necessary) responses to anticipated negative feedback. You can't predict everything, but this will give you a starting point to address and detract from any negative sentiment as quickly as possible.

2. If you're not willing to take the risk, your competition will. As more and more brands compete for consumers' attention across platforms, it will be the brands that create content and campaigns that stand out who will continue to come out on top.  You want you brand to lead the charge for consumer engagement, not play catch up.

For example, Skittles ranks highest among their confectionery peers on social media. The brand has achieved this not by playing  it safe but by developing a unique, brand voice that is often random and irreverent but speaks perfectly to their core teen audience. If fan and follower count plus engagement are any indication, this strategy is working. Skittles may have lost a few fans in the process who "don't get it", but by taking a risk they were able to capitalize on the majority that do.

3. Brand evolution stems from innovation. By staying the course, a brand may be getting in the way of its own evolution. As the social media landscape changes and consumers with it you'll want to be ready to adapt to maintain their interest in your brand. Taking even the slightest risks like testing new content or launching a smaller-scale campaign will help you better understand your changing community and position your brand for the future.

Don't prevent your brand from reaching its full potential out of fear of what might go wrong. The consequences could be much worse than a negative comment.

Which brands do you think are the biggest social media risk takers? Share in the comments!