How to deal with negative social media & create positive PR
As a business owner with social media networks, you will experience a lot of thoughts from your customers – and not all will be positive. You’ll need a tough skin to deal with the scrutiny, especially if it’s about a product or service that you’ve worked on for months or even years! Remember, you’re not the only one.
Many brands suffer from negative comments on social media and the way they handle them can ensure they retain their current customers, and carry on acquiring new ones. Follow our strategy, which involves responding appropriately to the type of comment you receive.
Popular types of negative social media comments:
This is where a comment is helpful or insightful. The customer won’t necessarily be providing you with information on how to improve your service but it might make it clear about what you’re doing wrong.
Example: “A few products on your website are missing pictures and I can’t make a decision without knowing what it looks like!”
How you should respond: “Hi [name], we’re really sorry about this, and we’ll be fixing this issue right away. If you’d like to private message us a contact point, we can let you know as soon as this is done.”
These are often quite urgent as people state problems at the time they are experiencing them, rather than after. For this reason, these are key to prioritise and to answer in a timely manner.
Example: “The light on the product won’t stop flashing and it won’t switch off!”
How you should respond: “Hi [name], we’re sorry you’re experiencing this problem. This can be solved by…” If it can’t be solved, offer a replacement or refund.
Personal and offensive
These posts are nasty and attacking. They are offensive in nature and will probably linger in your head.
Example: [We’ll let you use your imagination here]
How you should respond: You need to make a call here. You could delete the comment and risk them coming back with more abuse or you can simply apologise. We recommend responding and if they come back again, don’t be tempted to reply. As long as you know you tried and other customers can see it too, that’s enough.
Spammy comments are unfortunately an inevitable part of having an online presence. An example may be someone looking to use your platform to advertise something of theirs.
Example: “CHEAP LIGHTS, BUY IT NOW!!! Check oUT our website at www.lights4unow.co.uk”
How you should respond: Don’t. Just delete.
Useful tips on using responses to create positive PR:
Find out about it quickly
If you’re not monitoring your social media comments, you risk leaving brand-damaging comments on your profile. Not only will it annoy the customer to not get a response, but other consumers or fans will perceive you as a brand that doesn’t truly value its customers. To track brand mentions, begin by setting up Google Alerts and make sure you’re keeping on top of what is being said about your brand on the internet.
Deal with it in private
If the situation is complex or the solution involves a lot of steps, consider taking the matter out of the spotlight and ask if you can email the customer or give them a call. You don’t want others to think that solving issues is a long and an arduous process so avoid explaining anything lengthy or technical over social media.
Apologise when necessary
Some business owners feel that saying “sorry” will look bad and damage their reputation as it implies full responsibility and taking blame. However, getting defensive and being adamant that you’re right isn’t professional. It’s also important to remember that you’re not in your customer’s shoes and will need to believe their individual experience with your product. You don’t have to be over the top but a professional apology, along with a feasible solution that would help the customer, will be valued.
Learn from it
If a customer makes a valid point or highlights an issue that you’re not entirely confident about, why not document it and work on addressing it as soon as possible? You’ll only improve your service, and don’t be afraid to talk about improvements you’ve made to your product or service on your social media. It lets your followers know that you’re taking their views on board, and they’ll be more likely to test out your product again.