A Social Media Firestorm in Progress

I’m talking about the announcement that Netflix made yesterday regarding their pricing changes. The purpose of this post isn’t to vent any outrage over the 60% price increase for the service that I personally receive. More, I wanted to comment on the use customers are making of social media in order to vent their outrage and Netflix’s response to that use. In an article on PC World, one author talks about the power of the people. Businesses have to understand that social media offers its users a powerful tool to express themselves and organize a coherent response. The Netflix blog post that announces this decision currently has 5,000 comments, mostly negative. “Dear Netflix” is a trending topic in the U.S. on Twitter and these tweets are mostly threats by members to cancel their subscription when the new price structure goes into effect. There is already a couple of Facebook pages that have been created to protest this change. Finally, when I checked Netflix’s official Facebook Fanpage, there were already over 30,000 comments on the price increase post. But, it seems this number would be higher if Netflix wasn’t deleting these posts almost as fast as people can churn them out.

It is this response by Netflix that I find most disturbing. While, certainly any business with a fan page will need to prohibit and remove any vulgar, aggressive, or violent comments, is it in the best interest of the corporation to silence all negative feedback? The point of social media is to engage with your customers. This form of communication isn’t just meant to be one-way…if that was all you wanted, you’d just have a website. This communication is meant to go both ways from the the business to the customers and from the customers to the business. Now, obviously, any business hopes that most of this feedback is positive, but it won’t always be. In order to maintain the level of trust with your customers to allow for a rich dialogue, you will have to allow the negative comments to remain. It’s how you respond to those comments that will frame the dialogue going forward.

It will be interesting to see how things turn out for Netflix after this. Will they win this round? If they do, at what cost to their relationship with their members? (The cost I’m referring to is not a consequence of just the price change, but also the cost of Netflix’s reaction to this firestorm.) Will the members’ reaction to this news via social media cause Netflix to walk back from their price changes? We shall be watching.

 

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About Pamela

I have a master's degree in Political Science from the University of South Florida. My current research focus examines the modern industrial food system from a critical theory perspective.

Posted on July 13, 2011, in Social Media and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on A Social Media Firestorm in Progress.

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