Afrikaners is plesierig

So the song starts at least. Two of the things I encounter most often when dealing with social media are:

  1. We don’t want to open our brand to attack or negative comments. (Client / business perspective). Which is completely understandable, since the most common user perspective seems to be…
  2. I don’t want to waste time on Facebook or Twitter until I had a negative brand experience.  (Individual user perspective). At this point we often find socially inactive or dormant users awaken to blurt out their frustrations on a social platform.

How very odd. Apparently we don’t trust social sites enough to let them dramatically influence our purchasing patterns yet but we (as individuals) believe that we can negatively impact a brand by blurting out our frustrations in the social mix.

Very, very odd. Perhaps we aren’t so very “plesierig” after all.

So what to do now?

As a business:

  1. Stop the fear cycle. If they have something negative to say, they will do it regardless of whether you have a page or not. My thoughts are that if you have a centralised business page you at least have the capacity to influence the conversation and resulting perceptions. (You could of course follow trending topics and monitor how your brand is talked about but my guess is that if you are still debating the virtues of Facebook, this is might as well be written in Greek….)
  2. Swift, sharp, to the point. If you receive negative comments react as quickly as possible (within 2 hours). Don’t take it so personally – focus on getting to the root of the problem and advise on your findings and your intended corrective action. If the conversation is deliberately malicious, delete the post and take it offline. (You are after all the page admin!)
  3. Keep your house in order. Don’t make claims that are untrue, publish rude or offensive comments or advertise misleading promotions. If you don’t create obvious gaps in your integrity, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the lack of attack from Joe public.

As a person:

  1. Don’t be so quick to assume that your comment will sink a ship. Don’t underestimate the value of your opinion either. If you have a legitimate concern feel free to express yourself but take heed! Avoid enraged comments with flowery, emotive or offensive language. If you have it, say it and stick with it.
  2. If you really want to have influence, build your network. Having 50 Facebook friends doesn’t make you a social sheik. Sure 50 of your friends might consider never buying xxx milk again but so what? Grow your network (i.e. make more friends) if you want to have a real circle of influence.
  3. Try out the rest. Use the variety of social platforms as more than just a soap box. Look for friends. Pin a picture on Pinterest. Post a video on YouTube, or if that is too frightening at least comment on someone else’s, Tweet a comment on a worthwhile subject or share a (meaningful) thought on an interesting blog (The Spear lives On).


And while we are at it

let’s work on being more “plesierig”. Put equal amounts of zeal and effort in congratulating and complaining. Use your posts / tweets / comments or blurbs to commend businesses / brands on extraordinary customer service experiences. Changing a culture starts with you and me – its time to revolutionise the South African social media experience.

Diva, over and out!

Social Media Mixing (courtesy of

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