Here are a four articles that deal with the difficulty of engaging followers, fans and readers beyond the “like” button – particularly when suddenly faced with critical voices:
This blog post from the Guardian’s voluntary sector blog deals the question: “How do you keep control of the comments?” James Brown has some good ideas about how to include comments into your communications strategy.
Kim Stephens describes how the US Forest Service reacted to a very angry commenter on their Facebook page. The secret sauce: have a community that supports your cause and let them speak for you.
The first sentence of this article says it all: “The 21st century is a tough time to be a control freak.” If you think that’s a tough spot to be in as communicator for a humanitarian organization, imagine being in charge of the public image of a government! With embassies, diplomats and even low-level civil servants tweeting around the clock – who is speaking with the “official voice” of the government? The Atlantic writes: “Digital diplomacy can thrive only if foreign ministries accept some uncertainty over what to do and how to behave.” The same is true for NGO HQs.
Where the previous article was more theoretical, this blog post contains a lot of practical advice such as “delegate authority” (and learn to be comfortable with it). It also contains a lot of useful links to case studies that show that such an approach has its merits and can improve programme quality.