Using Social Media Feedback to Build Better Products


Recently, JJ Abrams made headlines in a bad way. After releasing pictures of the first cast read of the script for his forthcoming “Star Wars” movie, social networks exploded with rage. Fans of the franchise were irate because Abrams new cast only included one new female actor (in addition to the original trilogy’s Carrie Fisher) and several new men. Many female fans felt like they were being under-represented in the new film.

Abrams, like many product managers, could take this social media feedback in one of two ways:

  1. He could ignore the criticism, and soldier on with his original vision for his product.
  2. He could listen to the criticism, decide if what product fans said was valid, make corrections to his product and move on.

Abrams decided, wisely to go for option number 2. This week, he announced that the new “Star Wars” movie had cast two more actresses, Gwendoline Christie and Lupita Nyong’o. The response to this news on social media has been overwhelmingly positive.

Lessons from Star Wars’ Response to Social Media Feedback:

Social media is an amazing tool to get feedback on your brand’s products from your fans. In some cases, brands (like “Star Wars”) are able to adjust to social media feedback in real time before the product even goes to market. While you cannot please all of the people all of the time, it’s great to head off potential disaster by getting fan feedback, even negative feedback (ESPECIALLY negative feedback) from your social channels.

Too often, brands ignore negative social media feedback received via social, or even worse, delete comments that include negative feedback. Trying to hide negative feedback is a battle you cannot win. Using negative feedback to turn your critics into advocates isn’t just a winnable fight- it’s a fight that pays incredible dividends if successful.

Don’t Forget to Try to Head Off Problems Before they Happen…

It should also be noted that it’s important to look for fan feedback before you even begin the process of product creation. If the makers of “Star Wars” had simply spent time on message boards or read Twitter accounts dedicated to Star Wars, they might have seen that a more diverse cast was something that was important to many of their most passionate fans.

To learn more about responding to negative social media feedback, click here.