How to Deal with Negative Social Media Comments


Social media means listening!

No one likes to hear bad things about themselves – or their companies. Many companies don’t want to get into social media because they think they’ll have complaints and they don’t want to tarnish their brand. Or, companies jump into social media without a plan for such an occurrence, and just completely ignore the complainers.

That’s like sticking your fingers in your ears and singing “la la la” when you just don’t want to hear something.

Social media is here, folks, and it’s changing the landscape for businesses. Let me just tell you that regardless of whether you want the conversation to happen, or whether you want to participate in the conversation, it’s already happening.

You know the old saying “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em?” That’s the attitude you’ll need to adopt with the social media conversation that’s happening about your business.

So let’s say you’ve accepted this new philosophy, and you’re out there posting away in a blog, Facebook page, message board, Twitter – whatever. You get a negative comment. What do you do?
1. Have a response plan – this is key for companies big and small. The person doing the posting probably doesn’t have ALL the answers, so who in the company can answer what?
2. Answer as quickly as possible. Social media is a 24/7 medium. Depending on your business model, it’s feasible to maintain a presence only during business hours, but it’s a risk.
3. Even if the answer is “I don’t know” – ANSWER! Tell the customer that you will look into the matter, set a time frame for getting back to them, etc. But don’t ignore!
4. Don’t argue – there’s another saying, “the customer is always right.” As the social face of the company, you have to be the bigger person, and not engage in arguments online. If something escalates beyond this, remember to have a plan, and in that plan, perhaps you have an email for offline discussion.
5. Don’t engage the “trolls” – there are people that will never be happy. Ever. Never be mean to them, never dismiss them, try to help them, but sometimes, you’ll need to find a tactful way to deal with them. Each one is different, so there’s no tried-and-true solution. But be sure to account for that in your response plan.

Does anyone have any other tips to add? Comments are always welcomed!

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