Social Media: How to Handle Negative Feedback

Social Media: How to Handle Negative Feedback
Unlike traditional broadcast or print outlets that are often one-directional, social media is a two-way street.

Unlike traditional broadcast or print outlets that are often one-directional, social media is a two-way street.

To get ahead of your competition in business these days means you need to be on social media. It has its perks for companies and customers alike. Business can get the word out about their latest products or services while also bringing potential customers useful information. At the same time, social media gives customers an outlet to get in touch with their favorite brands.

Unlike traditional broadcast or print outlets that are often one-directional, social media is a two-way street. Most of the time this communication is an excellent thing to have; it gives businesses and their customers another way to communicate. Unfortunately, having a two-way street means that a business not only reaps the benefits of positive feedback, but they also open the gateway to possible negative criticism.

Seeing negative comments about your business on social media can be horrifying and many businesses are at a loss on what to do. Here are a few tips for coping with negative feedback on your social media accounts.

1. Don’t Delete – Many people’s first instinct when they find a negative comment on their social media accounts is to delete the post. You need to resist that urge. If you post something that customers didn’t like and then try to delete it, other fans will notice and some will get upset. This will be worse than just dealing with the negative comment in the first place. That’s because now they are not only upset with your service or product, but they’ll also be upset that instead of responding you tried to cover your tracks. The best plan of attack is to confront the issue head-on and/or comment.

2. Don’t Ignore – Just as bad deleting posts or comments is to ignore them. Burying your head in the sand may make it seem like there is no issue, but with every passing moment that you don’t say something, the situation gets worse. Again, the best plan of attack here is to respond. Even posting something generic such as, “We are working to resolve this issue. Thank you for your patience and we apologize for any inconvenience,” will help put your business back in the positive spotlight.

3. Act Fast – Social media happens in real time. Some experts estimate that the lifespan of a tweet is only about 60 minutes, and the lifespan of a Facebook post is just 90 minutes at best. So if you wait hours or days to respond to people, they may never see it. Make sure you check your social media accounts daily for fan engagement. If you wait too long to respond it shows you weren’t there when it mattered and the customer will have already made up their mind about your business.

4. Apologize – No matter what the issue is, sometimes all a person wants is an apology or an acknowledgement that they didn’t get what they wanted. Even if it’s not your fault, sometimes an “I’m sorry” can do a world of good. Customers will appreciate that you’re acting like a human, not just a social media robot.

5. See It As An Opportunity – There is nothing more valuable in business than brand advocates. These are customers who love your products or services so much they go out of their way to post comments on social media sites about your business. The one good thing about negative feedback is that it presents you with the chance to turn a disgruntled customer into a brand advocate. People like personal attention. If you can engage with the customer and help them through the crisis, they will remember that and may even change their mind about the whole experience.

It isn’t easy to receive negative feedback on social media, but if you stay calm and think about the opportunities it might present, you may even get through the situation with a positive outcome. Remember, social media is a friendly, inviting place for people to share their opinions. It is not a corporate warlord. So make sure to treat it like a friend that will help you and your business grow.

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Photo Credit: tlaukkanen

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