One of the primary reasons some business owners and entrepreneurs say they are hesitant to dive into social media is that they worry about being exposed to negative feedback on public networks.
However, you can protect yourself, your brand and your company from experiencing social media meltdown. How do you address a negative tweet, a Facebook comment that bashes your business or an unflattering blog or vlog mention?
It’s all in the preparation:
- Develop a response system: Before you begin using networks like Facebook, Twitter or Instagram to share news and information about your business, set up a process for responding to various scenarios. For example, if a customer complains online about poor service you should quickly look into the situation, indentify if there were underlying factors and respond back. Apologize, if it’s warranted, and consider offering an incentive to return.
- Spot the problem: If you diligently monitor your networks, you’ll quickly notice when a customer, follower or fan shares a problem online.
- Address the comment or post immediately: Even if the problem is more complicated and you can’t give a complete answer right away, let the person know you have seen the post and are looking into the matter. Your customers and followers assume you use social networks to connect with them. If they raise a problem online, respond just as you would in person, swiftly.
- Decide to keep it public or take it offline: Know the difference between a simple issue you can respond to publicly and one where you’ll need to obtain the person’s phone number or email address to directly address the issue. Then be sure to follow your response system as noted above.
- Follow up: Frequently, the person whose negative comment was addressed by you will follow up with a positive comment about the problem being resolved. Not only have you engaged your following and your customers, but you have met their needs and addressed their questions.
- Look for loyal supporters: The more responsive, honest and transparent you are addressing negative comments, the better the chances you’ll create loyal followers who will back you up. Those words of support go a long way.
- Know you can’t please everyone: In most situations, it’s possible to address the questions or concerns raised online. However, there are those who post off-topic, unrelated comments online. It’s best to avoid trying to engage with these online “trolls,” who simply complain to complain or share offensive language. You won’t always be able to solve the problem. Networks have blocking features for these situations. Use this solution only in extreme situations.
Do you have an example of an extreme situation you helped solve online? Share it with us in the comments.
Stephanie Angelyn Casola is an account manager and social media strategist at Franco PR Group. Reach out to her at email@example.com, @StephCasola on Twitter or Facebook.com/StephanieAngelynCasola. Call 313.567.5048.