It shouldn’t matter, and you shouldn’t care what other people think of you, but we all know how hard negativity is to ignore.
When you get a negative or unfavourable comment on your personal social media page, you can choose to deal with it as you please – delete it, ignore it, report it, or reply with a string of expletives.
But things are different when you are managing a corporate business page. There are certain protocols that need to be adhered to, especially when it comes to dealing with feedback.
It’s a delicate issue. Likes and positivity are easy to deal with, but when the dark, ominous cloud of negativity looms, it becomes a true test of sustenance. Sometimes all it takes is one bad comment to override all the good ones.
The recent social media revolt triggered by model and influencer, Essena O’Neill is proof that more people are bold and unafraid to air opposing views. It’s important to always be prepared.
Handling negativity professionally is an important asset and skill to have, offline and online, as more consumers turning to social media to communicate and share feedback about brands.
Due to perceived efficiency and visibility, consumers often resort to social media to get in touch with a brand. Studies have shown that 67% of consumers have used a company’s social media site for servicing, while 33% of users prefer to contact brands using social media rather than the telephone.
Knowing how to deal with with criticism, or even just haters trolling comments is necessary – because online, everyone is watching.
DO – Acknowledge
Good or bad, make sure you reply to a comment and acknowledge its presence. ‘Ignorance is bliss’ does not apply in this situation. Expectations are set high these days – and they’re even higher (sometimes bordering on unreasonable) when a customer is upset or has an urgent request. They want an answer right away and won’t hesitate to make you look incompetent for not being able to respond immediately.
DON’T – Give a template answer
Yes, people can see through your lack of authenticity. It takes a bit more effort to type in a response from scratch, but at least you will sound sincere – a genuine response will take you far. If you know you’re going to be held back on what you can respond with due to corporate policy, try and outline a few key messages and potential responses you might need to use before putting your crisis plan into place. You’ll sound like more of a person and less of a robot, and people will appreciate it.
DO – Be sincere in your apology
It’s everyone’s favourite thing to hear, or in this case, read. And since they took the time off to get in touch, you can do the same. Read what they have to say, and respectfully answer their questions. Don’t hold back on using that magic word – “sorry” – if you have messed up. It goes a long, long way in retaining customer loyalty.
DON’T – Lead them to another “feedback link”
We all know how frustrating this is; it’s like taking two steps back. Don’t pile yet another task on them, especially if chances are that there is going to be even more waiting time with no follow up.
DO – Try your best to solve the problem
Some situations may vary, but do try your best, and provide regular updates on your progress. This is also a good chance to reflect and discover ways of improving to serve customers better, leading to less complaints – online or offline.
It’s a simple solution, but also the hardest. It’s all about being authentic and sincere.
Some other quick helpful tips:
Timeliness: Reply as quick as you can. People generally don’t like waiting, especially if they’re upset.
Offline vs Online: Decide if the situation calls for an open discussion online, or a private message. Each problem varies, and needs to be handled differently. A well-managed crisis can earn you positive word of mouth by other punters online.
Not all feedback is constructive: There are many trolls and keyboard warriors who enjoy making personal attacks – they’re not worth your time. It’s best to ignore these responses, keep your chin up, and focus on the wrongs that you can right.
Haters, be gone!
Get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to find out more about integrating a social media strategy into your PR campaign.