Today, communication between a brand and its audience has developed from mostly one-sided communication into a two-way communication-based relationship through the explosion of social media. This rise of two-way communication allows your audience to engage with your brand however it also allows your audience to give feedback which can be positive in the best of cases or negative in the worst of cases.
The decision to include your audience as a part of your campaign is not the easiest one; on one side including your audience boosts engagement to your brand and will possibly attract new fans. However, including your audience also adds complexity to your campaign in terms of having the possibility of receiving negative comments from your actual fans as well as attracting trolls.
It is important to allow your fans to have a voice. Allow your fans to do the bragging about your brand by building a forum for them to express themselves where your brand can interact but is not the main voice. A great way to create this space is through the use of social media platforms. For example, on Twitter, your brand can designate a hashtag to start a conversation about a relevant topic to your brand. Using the hashtag, your brand can chime into the conversation but mostly allow your users to lead the topic. On Facebook, you can create a post that specifically invites your fans to post content such as photos of themselves interacting with your product. To encourage the conversation to keep going, your brand can offer an incentive such as a prize for the photo that acquires the most likes or comments.
As with any campaign, it is important to keep in mind who your target market is and what characteristics it has. Is your target market likely to be technology savvy and would therefore interested in engaging with your brand through social media? If so, what social media platform does your target market interact on the most? What type of campaign would drive engagement with your audience? These are all important questions to ask yourself in regards to your audience prior to designing a campaign which includes your audience.
As mentioned above, when your brand invites the audience to participate, you run the risk of receiving negative feedback and comments. The negative feedback can be genuine and come from disgruntled users. This scenario can be handled relatively easily by listening to the disgruntled user, figuring out what would resolve the situation, offering a genuine apology and resolving the situation if necessary. In the case of trolls, the claim is not genuine and therefore the situation cannot be resolved in a logical manner. Your brand can ignore the trolls, call them out for being trolls, or delete the comments. The correct action again will depend on your audience and how they would perceive each action.