When you’re branding on social media, you’ll find out soon enough that many old adages are very true. One of the truest: The same things that make you laugh also make you cry. And when those negative comments start to pile up, you’ll understand exactly what this means.
Sites like Facebook have endless potential in terms of engaging with your audience and really getting your brand name out there. But by that same token, it’s easy for negativity to pile up. It’s simple for someone to berate you, your product, or your entire brand in the public arena. And no one is immune to it.
The best you can do is work preemptively to limit some of the damage once it arrives. Below you will read about some tips to help you correctly deal with negativity via social media.
Preemptive and After-the-Fact Solutions for Negative Comments
1: Develop a Few Systems to Quell Frustrations
The first thing you should do is put a couple of solid systems in place. What does this mean? Well, for starters, you could develop a FAQ section. If you have one of these, then a lot of the unhappy customers can have their issues resolved here without having to leave negative comments. The idea, of course, is to limit the negativity. If you’re working to take care of things beforehand, then you won’t have to do lot after the fact.
2: Direct People to Your Support
It’s very important that you have a separate email address for support-specific issues, and even better if you have different segments for different parts of your business. For instance, have a place for product-specific complaints vs. payment-specific complaints. Have sections that touch on aspects of social media, and some that touch on aspects of your brand in general. When people have complaints, give them a roadmap to contact you with them. Believe it or not, you really want to welcome this criticism.
3: Watch for the Negativity
This is where proactive meets reactive. When you’re using Facebook, you can set up a Hyper Alerts feature which will alert you every time someone comments on your page in any form or fashion. Once you get in the habit of reading these, you’ll be able to step in every single time someone has something negative to say about you. You obviously want to do your best to keep people happy, but you also need to watch out in case they’re not.
4: Respond in a Timely Fashion
The greatest campaigns in social media history still had detractors, so don’t expect your brand to get lucky and miss out on the criticism. The best thing you can do here is to respond quickly to a situation. More often than not, the initial negative criticism is just a basic complaint and usually something very simple that can be resolved with some hands-on attention and direction. But letting it fester will cause an infection you won’t want to deal with.
5: Respond to Everyone
It’s important you respond to everyone here – at least everyone who’s a real someone, as in not a spammer or a pure troll. For everyone else, though, you need to respond. Even if it’s something you roll your eyes at because the person is complaining about something you have made abundantly clear, you still can’t risk further negativity here. Respond, even if it pains you to do so, to prevent a paper cut from turning into a laceration.
6: Offer an Apology and Useful Information
When you do respond, you should keep a very professional, very helpful tone. No matter what the complaint is about, you should start out with an apology. Something like, “I’m sorry. How may I help you?” Keep it simple; don’t grovel or come across fake. Start out this way to let someone know that you’re genuinely interested in helping them, and then proceed to provide them with enough useful information so that their issue is resolved in a timely fashion. Being open and transparent here will help you a great deal.
7: Learn from the Experience
Last up on the list here, you should always learn from the experience. For example, after receiving a few negative complaints about something, you may realize that it’s you who needs to change. Or after you have someone explain an issue to you, you may realize that your FAQ needs to change. Use customer criticism that you receive to help you shore-up your brand. For every complaint, try to make an improvement to reduce the odds of someone having the same complaint.
Negativity comes with the territory when you’re using social media to brand your business. And while it’s relatively simple to deal with, negative campaigns have completely crushed bigger brands than yours before. So it goes without saying that you need to stay on top of things here and handle the criticism well.
Article by: Craig Robinson. A freelance writer from Qwaya.com – a facebook ad management tool and helps advertisers organize their campaigns. Craig also loves to participate at some social media communities and forums.