Drilltip: The Anderson Cooper Method of Shutting Down Negative Twitter Comments
To paraphrase the legendary comic book writer Stan Lee: “With great Twitter followings comes great responsibility.” Not only does scrutiny of your tweets increase with the number of your followers, but so does the number of people who potentially want to “take you down a peg” with negative comments.
Dealing with these types of comments, particularly when they come from another Twitter user with a sizeable following, takes a balance of humor and pragmatism. You want to correct negative information; you also want to avoid looking like you are intolerant of others’ viewpoints.
One of the greatest examples of a Twitter personality that strikes this balance perfectly is Anderson Cooper (@andersoncooper). With more than 2.5 million followers, Anderson receives more than his fair share of tweets from haters. Here’s an example of how he handles them:
Anderson Cooper’s method of responding to negative comments comes down to three key principles:
- Maintain your own voice – Cooper knows that you have to avoid the temptation to mirror the language of the negative commenter. Instead, his response sounds like every other Tweet he posts.
- Run towards the criticism – Cooper knows that you never get anywhere by saying someone is outright wrong. Instead, he runs right at the comment and returns with one of his own that points out the inaccuracy while maintaining the higher ground.
- Hit home a call to action that serves you – Finally, Cooper wants to score positive points for his brand with every tweet. In this example, he uses his show’s Twitter handle as a call to action and he likely attracted a few new viewers.
Responses like Anderson Cooper’s don’t always come naturally for brand handles, but they’re incredibly effective in mitigating criticism. Take, for example, this well-executed interaction between a Twitter user and @SmartCarUSA:
Over time and with the right amount of practice these responses can become second nature to your brand voice. As an added benefit, Twitter audiences love to see a brand handle hold its own in the face of criticism. You’ll find that the responses can actually help to attract more followers.