New article: 5 things to do when social media reacts to you

Imagine being flashmobbed. Suddenly hundreds of people run into your reception area with chocolates and flowers and sing a song in your honour. What would you do? Or a crowd appears at your company’s gate and each person there shakes their fist and jeers everyone entering the building. Then, just as quickly, they’re gone.

It happens a lot. To firms all over the world. Not literally of course. On Facebook, on Twitter, on YouTube. Brands are hit by a wave of emotion, good or bad, that rolls in, and then recedes, leaving everyone affected breathless and confused.

What the hell just happened?

The force at work is “critical mass”: the impact that many, many people can have when moving together, with purpose, towards a singular point. It can last minutes, hours, days. It can generate smiles and business, or scandal and significant losses. It can transform people and brands into heroes or villains, celebrities or scandals.

Whilst I think a lot of us continue to search for a credible return on investment model for brands employing social media, there is no denying the ability of social media, on occasions, to galvanise people – and there is no denying the huge effects that such gatherings can generate. These channels can bring together consumers from many places to form a significant mass of opinion, in support or against, based around an issue they consider important to them. And they can do so like no other communication means before them. Hence the “mass”. The “critical” components are that participation usually comes with some strong opinions, and your reaction to that influx can be make-or-break. Continue reading to find out whether to step up or step back.

More reading

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