It's not exactly rocket science, but one simple method for getting online and embracing social media is LEAD (listen, experiment, apply, develop). This creates a simple road map that will help companies thrive in the online world’s environment of constant change.

We see a lot of work on attracting new advocates, but one thing that I am constantly asked about is how to work with detractors.

The most important thing in social is to address your detractors. Influencers are a combination of advocates and detractors but detractors are 4-8 times more likely to speak than an advocate (yeah, I made that stat up). Understand and disarm your detractors by talking to them.

But should all detractors be treated equally?

First up, we like to differentiate between 'branded' and 'unbranded' social noise makers. Waggener Edstrom define this very neatly... "Branded media has an associated value exchange with its name. Unbranded media has voice and influence, but the name does not (yet, perhaps) carry value by itself. Regardless of whether it’s branded or not, each voice carries weight and influence, from either the edge (unbranded) or the center (branded). And media can move between the two states: X, the gossip guy, started out as a nobody, while Z, who used to be influential, is rarely heard from anymore."

Then it's traditional (yes it still exists) PR methods that need to be implemented to actually make a difference.

Only the paranoid survive.