First, I want to clarify: I do not consider this a fail. More of a warning – be careful what you wish for.
This past Thursday, the Republican Party used their Twitter account to solicit feedback:
This is a pretty standard way to get Social Media engagement for businesses and politicians alike: tell us your opinion. It certainly has a variety of pluses and can be helpful at building marketing lists, marketing research, etc. The link itself took users to a five question survey. All pretty normal stuff.
However, shortly after the tweet was sent out, the trolling began:
(for the record: the last one is my favorite)
Now, as I said in the beginning: I don’t consider this a fail. I doubt the GOP will release their survey answers or the amount of responses they got, but I’d guess it was substantial. They probably gained hundreds, if not thousands, of Emails (realistically speaking, I’d bet this was the real point of this survey), and gave the impression that the feedback of others was valuable. Good for them.
However, it is a warning: if you ask for someone’s opinion, you’re going to get it, like it or not. If doing a Tweet like this, or a Twitter Town Hall, make sure you have a set strategy about how you are going to deal with nasty tweets or snarkiness that was seen above. This tweet was probably still worth it to the GOP, despite the negative publicity that they got from the funny responses. Make sure you make that calculation on your own when asking for feedback yourself.
Oh, and maybe this is me being hard-headed, but I think you should almost never NOT do something because you are afraid of negative feedback. If you let your enemies dictate your political strategy, you may as well just give up now.