Marta Peral Ribeiro

Marta Peral Ribeiro
– Communication Consultant –

We have talked about the impact that digital influencers have on the actions of their followers, proximity being one of the elements that make a difference, namely through informal discourse and interaction with users. But what about the brands? How can they connect with your target audience and what is the impact of that interaction?

Marta Peral Ribeiro
– Communication Consultant –

We have talked about the impact that digital influencers have on the actions of their followers, proximity being one of the elements that make a difference, namely through informal discourse and interaction with users. But what about the brands? How can they connect with your target audience and what is the impact of that interaction?

Meeting point: social networks

Based on the experience they have with the brand, the public likes to validate the information they receive. When information resonates with your experience, you will identify with the brand and be interested in it.

And where do we go when we want to know more about a brand? To social networks. This is where brands and consumers meet. That’s why it’s crucial that brands are on these digital platforms.

Interaction as a differentiating factor

More than being on the networks, it is also important that companies include some space for interaction with their followers in their communication plan.

When the brand knows its audience well, when it devotes time to analyzing followers and their comments, reading what they write and share, responding to comments with empathy and dedication, it connects to them, which makes it stand out in the digital sphere.

Especially when a product or service is exclusively digital, it is of paramount importance that the brand focuses on the conversation with its audience, getting to know their universe, their tastes, interests, behaviors and even their perception of the organization.

Given the megaphone that networks are, a good interaction on social networks undoubtedly requires great flexibility, but this can reap a high reward.

Good interaction with a customer can convert them

Which customer forgets when their problem is solved, especially if they receive a careful and personalized treatment? The way you are treated often dictates the preference when choosing what you are going to buy. In fact, even the economic factor is usually less important when there is an emotional connection, as we know.

This brings a return on investment, even higher than that of a new client. On the other hand, an unfortunate response may dictate the loss of a customer (or worse: of many customers).

4 points to consider when communicating

     1. Language, tone and authenticity

Depending on the tone of the comment, the community in which it is included, the product it sells, and the entity it represents, the language should be clear and light. And, whenever possible, with humor.

But not all brands have margin for that. If for some a particular type of language can be a reason for success because it reflects their identity, for others it could result in a disaster. Sensitivity and common sense prevail.

     2. Strategic thinking: being one step ahead

While the ideal is to give a personalized answer (no one likes typified answers), you may want to create a flow of answers for possible comments, because an improvised response can bring great dismay. That is, to reflect in advance what type of approach makes sense to the company according to the situation.

     3. Current affairs: context is crucial

Because it is asynchronous, communication on networks does not provide an immediate response. However, the communication team should be aware of what is happening socially, because having/experiencing something in common with users reinforces their emotional connection.

     4. What drives the brand? Reiterate your values

Through the comments the brand can and should reaffirm its principles and values, generating greater visibility of its reason for existing. This type of response can be particularly useful when you receive a comment that questions a company’s action.

Conversation guide – what we can learn from the experience of others

Empathy with the user

It takes a lot of empathy to deal with the comments. Users like to question, to know more, to praise, so compassionate communication is always convenient. After all, a user represents a customer, the focus of the company.

Even when a comment is apparently negative, it may not actually have that connotation to the brand. You can simply translate a need or anxiety, by the expectation of receiving a product or using a service, in certain cases, for example.

resposta da netflix no facebook aos seguidores

resposta da miniportugal no facebook ao seguidor

Showing understanding of a customer’s need, McDonald’s justifies the absence of a product:

resposta do mc donalds no facebook ao seguidor

Values, means and purposes

There are always opportunities for the company to reiterate its values.

When asked about its commitment to sustainability, The Body Shop, a cosmetics brand known for its eco-friendly approach, concretely justified its actions, reaffirming its mission to reduce the impact of its packaging on the environment.

resposta da body shop no facebook ao seguidor

Alert competition

There are brands that are particularly exposed to comparison by users, such as fast-food chains or hypermarkets, mobile operators or streaming platforms.
Burger King is one of them:

resposta do burger king no facebook ao seguidor

Wendy’s, an American fast-food chain , is known for its strong conversation with users on its networks, with an authentic and unmistakable voice, full of humor – often incisive.

In this example, they weren’t bothered about underrating their rival McDonald’s when Devon Peacock asked him how much a Big Mac cost:

resposta da wendys no twitter ao seguidor

An audience committed to the brand

Still mentioning Wendy’s, the level of connection is so engaging that it comes to proactively interact a user who promised to offer a hamburger to everyone if the brand responded to the publication:

resposta da wendys no twitter ao seguidor

Old Spice also showed shrewd humor when it suggested a follower use Tinder:

resposta da old spice no twitter ao seguidor


If there is a comment whose content is a complaint, it is wise to look for a solution to the problem, with a view to alleviated the negative effects. You may wonder what happened (if not obvious), provide a link or contact for assistance.

resposta da hbo no facebook ao seguidor

Mea culpa

If something really goes wrong, it is best to be transparent and own up to the mistake, taking a step forward and rescuing the confidence of the followers.

The answer can be an apology, a formal statement, a justification made openly available to users, or an explanatory publication in the form of questions and answers.

Finally, the company should not fall into the temptation to delete a negative comment. Imagine what can happen if the user makes a screenshot – which they most likely will.

The lesson we learned from McDonald’s

Last year, Mc Donald’s Portugal’s “Sundae, Bloody Sundae” Halloween campaign led the brand to withdraw the ad and regret it. What was intended as a Halloween campaign with a pun on U2’s “Sunday Bloody Sunday” turned out to hurt susceptibilities (especially an Irish citizen) as the song evokes the British army’s 1972 massacre of unarmed civilians in Northern Ireland:

publicação acerca do mcdonalds no twitter

Excellent service

A great example of excellence in customer service was given by LEGO, faced with the appeal of a 7-year-old who lost one of the figures.

The conversation was made by email, which at the time went viral, as LEGO expressed its voice through a compassionate and creative response to the child, with whom they share the passion for play and the inventive spirit.

carta da lego para uma criança

What’s the bet that the family has forever become loyal to LEGO? What’s more, how many users have become customers after this story?

On social networks, as in life, we cannot please all, but by working on the interaction with users, mapping their comments, reactions and behaviors, is certainly the best way to win the loyalty of a good part of the audience.