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How to Navigate Social Negativity



It’s something most of us have dealt with at one time or another — negative coverage about you and your business. But how do you respond, particularly when it relates to social media? Or do you respond at all?


Tiffany Whisner

Tiffany Whisner

How you and your company handle negative posts and comments on social media can determine the future of your business and its reputation.


Think before you tweet

Maybe you posted a comment on your social media profile without really thinking how offensive it was. Take former PR executive Justine Sacco for example. Her thoughtless tweet about AIDS in Africa cost Sacco her job.


As stated in a CNN article, “The incident was a glaring reminder that every word uttered on the Internet can be heard by seemingly everyone on the Internet, sometimes with serious consequences.”


Maybe you had really … REALLY … bad timing. After the tragic bombing at the Boston Marathon, cooking site Epicurious promoted some recipes on Twitter. “In honor of Boston and New England, may we suggest: whole-grain cranberry scones!” Needless to say, the line was crossed.


Then there’s just bad planning. Home Depot posted a tweet to promote College GameDay. It didn’t take long for the Twitterverse to note the extremely offensive — and racist — tweet, which said, “Which drummer is not like the others?” “Ignorant oversight or not,” said a Digiday article, “brands should know by now that they should avoid ever tweeting anything that has even the slightest chance of being interpreted as racist.”


Handling the negativity

Justine Sacco apologized in a written statement and deleted her Twitter account. Epicurious removed the offensive tweet but then went days without tweeting. Home Depot deleted the tweet, called it “stupid” and apologized.


How should your business respond without letting the negative situation get out of control? Here are tips from Dorothy Crenshaw at PR Daily:

  1. Do respond. Often, a lack of response is seen as a validation of the criticisms or, at best, an information vacuum. The sooner the response, the easier it will be to control the situation.
  2. Don’t dignify baseless rumors. One exception to the above is the case of an unsubstantiated rumor, where you risk calling more attention to it by responding.
  3. Let your advocates defend you. If you have trusted clients or customers willing to comment in your defense, let them. The essence of reputation is what others say about you in public.
  4. Don’t overreact. It’s natural to feel emotional or defensive when attacked. If you can’t be objective, seek objective advice.
  5. Ask for equal time. Most legitimate websites or news sources will give you the opportunity to respond to a questionable story or comment. Where details are wrong, your smartest approach is to calmly insist on your right to set the record straight.
  6. Use objective facts and figures. A convincing response usually involves statistics or objective facts and cites sources. Where possible, quote third parties.
  7. If you’re at fault, apologize. If your company made a mistake, admit it and offer a prompt, sincere apology. Take responsibility. Then, take steps to fix the situation or make amends.
  8. Look for the opportunities. Public criticism can be a gift in disguise. Think about whether it could be an opportunity to remedy a problem or improve your business.


Accentuate the positive
“Negative reviews can function as a modern-day comment box and provide you with valuable information and insight on how you can improve,” said Matthew Peneycad of RGB Social.


And leaving negative comments, instead of deleting them, shows your company’s willingness to be transparent with consumers. This will lead to increased trust, a more legitimate brand and a more loyal following in the future.



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Categories: 2014 February Newsletter, Newsletters | Tags: Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Get FREE Tax Prep Services!


The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) began accepting tax returns on January 31 — the 2014 tax season has officially begun.


It’s a season of heartache and headache for many people. And the process can become only more painful if you delay filing your taxes until the last minute.


So do you qualify for FREE tax preparation services? If you made $58,000 or less in 2013, you just may!


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In order to qualify for free tax prep services, you must be able to provide all of the following information:

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Since 2009, Coles Marketing has been helping to promote the VITA program in Indianapolis. For more information, visit IndyFREETaxPrep.com.


Find a site near you by calling 2-1-1 or checking the website. Also, “like” the Indy Free Tax Prep Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Indy-Free-Tax-Prep/568872853205588 and “follow” on Twitter at https://twitter.com/indyfreetaxprep.



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Coloring Your Reaction to Marketing



When it comes to colors, I admit to being a stereotypical guy: I don’t really pay much attention.


Christopher Lloyd

Christopher Lloyd

Ask me to name the eye color of someone I interact with daily, and I’ll probably be stumped. When it comes to clothes, I dress from the ground up, picking from a small rotation of shoes, then selecting pants that match them, and finally a shirt that (I hope) goes with the rest.


But like a lot of people who don’t consciously spend a lot of brain power on color, we’re all subtly influenced by hue in most everything we see. And that includes marketing and advertising.


See it, feel it

The Logo Company has a terrific guide to how people react psychologically to color in logo design:


Yellow – Clarity and warmth (Brand examples: Best Buy, Subway)

Orange – Cheerful and confident (Fanta, Nickelodeon)

Red – Youthful and bold (Target, Nintendo)

Purple – Imaginative and wise (T-Mobile, Taco Bell)

Blue – Dependable and strong (Dell, Lowe’s)

Green – Growth and health (Whole Foods, Publix)

Gray – Calm (Apple, Hyundai)


As a result, it’s not surprising to find many medical/health companies utilizing blue in their marketing, while many oil and energy companies pick green to connote a sense of being friendly to the environment.


How to leverage the luminosity

Leo Widrich of Buffer has a good roundup on PR Daily about how best to leverage color in marketing. For example, if you’re pitching mainly to a female audience, favor purple and avoid gray, according to KISSmetrics. For men, try black and downplay purple. Both genders like blue and green, and both dislike brown and orange.


All this may sound like a bunch of hooey, but studies have proven the effect of color on marketing choices. HubSpot ran an experiment to see if the color of a button would affect conversion rates, and discovered that a red button got 21 percent more clicks than the same one in green.


Of course, color has less of an effect on certain people. Roughly eight percent of men have some degree of color blindness, and 0.5 percent of women. Mark Zuckerberg famously chose blue as the dominant shade for Facebook because that’s the color he sees best, being red-green colorblind.


Hue you gonna call?

At Coles Marketing, we have an experienced team of graphic and Web designers who know all about how color fits into brand strategy. Let us find the right shade for your marketing outreach!


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