6 Steps to Managing Negative Social Media Feedback
July 17, 2019
Negative comments are a dime a dozen on social media. However, when the comments are directed at your business, they can become a serious problem. Whether it’s a customer complaint about a product or just a troll trying to egg you on, dealing with online negativity the right way is crucial.
There’s no one right way to deal with negativity online. Every business has their own methods to deescalate a situation of this kind. Not sure how you’d deal with a social media comment that rubbed you the wrong way? Here are 6 tips to perfecting your approach to negative feedback.
1. Hire Someone to Manage Social Media: The first step to take when dealing with social media management of any kind is to hire a manager. This can be someone already allocated to your team, or an outside hire. The important thing is that he or she is trained to deal specifically with social media and consumer engagement.
Having a social media manager takes the onus off you to determine the right or wrong approach to a negative comment. It also ensures that no negative comment is left without a response.
2. Be Present and Engage: When we ignore social media comments, it only points a guilty finger at the party being insulted. The best way to deal with any negative comment is head on. Being present in your social media account, even if you have hired a manager, is key. To properly train employees dealing with your public, you must first understand what the public is concerned about and why. It’s also important that all employees understand your brand message and motive.
You want to be sure that all comments, shares, likes and any other consumer engagement, is reflective of your brand. Otherwise, it could have the opposite effect you’re looking for and create further negativity.
3. Be Aware Some Issues Require Offline Fixes: Depending on the size of the online altercation, you might need to take things offline. For example, if a customer feels they’ve been wronged in one of your stores, like a rude employee, for example, you may want to call and speak to them in person or offer compensation should they visit your brick and mortar location again.
Like all human beings, consumers often just require a bit of patience, empathy, and honesty. If you’re willing to step outside your comfort zone and give the customer a chance to explain their side of the story in person, you’ll see a much more positive outcome.
4. Act Fast, Don’t Hide: An apology goes a long way, even if you don’t feel like you’re in the wrong. Again, ignoring social media comments could create backlash. Dealing with things as soon as they happen is the best way to prevent escalation and keep consumers happy.
Remember, every customer who visits your social media account can see the negative comments left by others. Simply deleting them could make you look like you’re avoiding the situation, while putting off a response will make the customer feel ignored.
In most cases, negative comments are aimed at the brand, or an experience, not at you personally. So, take everything with a grain of salt, and put yourself in the customer’s shoes before replying. Would you react the same way or have a negative response of some kind if you had a similar experience? If the answer is yes, perhaps there’s a better way to deal with future cases of the same nature.
5. Keep Things Light and Positive: Reacting negatively to a negative comment will only make you look aggressive, defensive, and possibly a little mean. As the face of a business you must always maintain integrity and calm, even if you feel your brand is under attack. If consumers get nasty and use negative language, you can remove those comments and report the user. For civil interactions, retain an edge of positivity.
Sometimes, trying to see the humor in a situation helps. If the problem is minor, a simple, “Oops, we really put our foot in that one, and we’d love to make it up to you,” will help. Customers respond well to brands which humanize themselves. It allows consumers to feel on the same level and less like their talking to some corporate entity in a high-rise somewhere.
6. Never Take Your Eye Off Your Brand: Finally, never stop checking up on your brand. Much like a parent regularly checks in with an adult child, your brand will always be your baby, no matter how many social media managers you hire. Watch hashtags, mentions, and shares which involve your company name. Do most of them seem positive, negative, or a mix of both? It’s important to track these mentions to determine whether something should be changed or addressed.
There’s nothing wrong with leaving a campaign in the capable hands of a team of your employees. However, you don’t want to give up the reigns altogether. Keep tabs on social media, checking in from time to time to ensure that everything is moving smoothly, and consumers are generally happy.
These are just a few of the ways to begin managing negativity on social media. Speaking to a reputation or brand management company may also inspire some ways of dealing with negative responses. Not taking things to heart and facing issues head on are the best pieces of advice to take from this.