Written by Tyler Kerns
Social media isn’t just another broadcast channel; it’s a way to listen, talk and ultimately sell. With the Internet’s participatory nature, it will contain some negativity, and your brand may find unfavorable feedback on social media accounts. Whether you’re on social media or not, people are talking about their experience with your brand. This is information you can use, and it’s up to you to turn this bad ship around and head in a positive path.
Negative feedback can be a good thing. Turning it around by responding in an orderly fashion can create greater brand loyalty. The number one rule is not to delete or censor the feedback, but to respond. Give a speedy response and make it effective. Like handling any press release, answer questions and comments accordingly.
Being prepared will bring great success in your social media presence. The University of Wisconsin Oshkosh Journalism department provides classes to better prepare students for entering the world of new media. New & Emerging Media Professor Sara Steffes Hansen said these classes help the students learn how to communicate by planning and creating scenarios. The students learn to think ahead on how to respond on social media while thinking about the communities, the content and the ways to communicate. We’re in a pool of unpredictable situations with new and emerging media, and it’s vital to be prepared and know what’s best to say.
There should be no script in your online communication. The responses you give should sound as humanistic as possible. It’s best to first create a dialogue to get all the facts straight, and then use the opportunity to clarify.
Some additional tips on handling negative feedback:
- Document it by taking a screenshot or saving the text. Consumers can delete or alter their comments, and it’s best to document the feedback to refer to in consumer research.
- Give more information rather than just apologizing. Let the consumer know where they can go for more information as well.
- Never delete or censor the negative feedback. Censoring comments could lead to more negativity and ultimately bad publicity for your company.
- Be honest and evident. Admit to the problem, apologize and fix it.
- Don’t take the comments personally. Look at them as feedback and a point-of-view of your customers. This can only help improve your product, brand or company.
There are other ways to see, outside of Facebook and Twitter, what is being said about your company. Google Alerts is a tool that will email you articles, websites and pages that contain the keywords you request. This is a great tool to find criticism about your brand on third-party blogs and review sites.
Review sites like Yelp are sites dedicated to letting consumers give critiques of companies without company censorship. It may be beneficial to respond to these comments, but make sure this is non-promotional communication. Be acknowledging of the consumer to show that you care.
Social media isn’t just a channel to sell; it’s a channel to communicate with your customers. It is vital to be humanistic toward your audience and show gratitude for their feedback. Social media is a participatory platform where consumers can create the content. The better you and your company interact through social media, the better your reputation will be.