5 Tips for Handling Negative Feedback on Social Media

Yes — social media allows businesses to have direct communication with their target audience. On these platforms, businesses can engage in two-way conversations where they’re ultimately building individual relationships. But like any relationship, there can be disagreements and negative feelings expressed on these platforms, which can be damaging to a brand’s online reputation. Entrepreneur shares that 78% of consumers in the United States read reviews before making a purchase or decision. So it’s important to know how to do damage control and maintain your reputation if you receive negative feedback on social media.

Digital Marketing Specialist, Jennifer Goff, shared “5 Tips for Handling Negative Feedback on Social Media” on SocialMediaToday that we think is a great guideline to follow. Check out them out below:

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1. Listen Carefully

Stopping a problem in its tracks (and building lasting relationships) starts with social listening.

Unfortunately, an angry customer won’t always speak directly to you – to ensure you don’t miss important feedback, you need to track all mentions of your brand, branded hashtags, and branded URLs shared on social – whether they include an @ mention or not.

2. Remember That Response Time Matters

When establishing your target response times, know that now, more than ever, speed matters.

Common SLAs can vary from mere minutes to hours, depending on a variety of factors including your industry and your team, and are likely to fluctuate based on peak times, specific events or campaigns. But one thing is consistent across the board: rapid replies are increasingly becoming the expectation.

In fact, 42% of customers who complain on social expect a response within 60 minutes. And with sensitive issues, like an emotionally charged complaint, a slow response can leave a customer feeling ignored and stoke the flames of further discontent.

Negative sentiment can soar, and multiply – in some cases, circulating on social until it reaches media outlets – when a brand’s response is seen as comparatively too slow.

3. Be Human, Be Transparent, And Never Go Negative

Brands can take control of the situation by responding in a helpful and genuine manner. Never respond negatively or defensively.

Avoid canned responses and strive to establish a human connection.

Ensure your customer feels listened to, and don’t be afraid to apologize for any inconvenience or a less-than-stellar experience to help diffuse a negative situation.

4. Respond Publicly Before Moving to a Private Conversation

When responding to a complaint on social, always reply publicly before moving the conversation into a private message.

The days of purely 1:1 communication are behind us – on social, a brand may be replying to a comment directed solely at your brand, yet this exchange is still taking place in the public eye.

Responding publicly is essential to showcasing your brand as transparent, attentive, and helpful. Only after this first step should you move the conversation into a private message in order to provide a solution with greater detail, or to ask for sensitive information, like an account number or identifying details, essential to solving the customer’s problem.

Negative feedback on social can also represent the chance to turn unhappy customers into brand advocates and provide unique opportunities to surprise and delight.

5. Know When to Engage – and When Not To

Responding to social posts – both compliments and complaints – can strengthen a brand’s relationship with its customer base, but comments that veer into trolling territory (comments that are racist, sexist, or otherwise aggressively derogatory) are often better left untouched.

Be transparent with your audience by including a statement of what violates your online community terms in your bio or ‘About me’ section, and that you reserve the right to remove any postings of a vulgar, discriminatory, or inappropriate nature.

One caveat: be wary of deleting comments. This can incite more anger, and additional comments are likely to increase – both in number and in vitriol.

If a comment is derogatory, you can report it and on some networks, like Facebook, you can hide the comment from the public. This feature lets the comment remain visible to the user who posted it, as well as to the original poster’s friends, which lessens the potential for additional conflict when removing a comment from the public eye.

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Although these tips are good to keep nearby, keep in mind that every situation is unique. We encourage our clients to analyze the situation, strategize possible solutions and create a response that not only highlights the company’s values but is tailored to the user. Canned responses are a big no-no! Taking the time to write a personalized message shows you care and that you take all feedback very seriously. If you’re interested in learning more about BoardroomPR’s social media division and how we can help your business in an online reputation management campaign or overall, please call us 954.370.8999 or email Don at donsil@boardroompr.com.

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