How you respond is crucial to your brand reputation
Social media offers businesses a superb marketing opportunity. Companies can promote their brand and products and connect with customers. However, unlike most other marketing methods, social media is a two-way medium. Consequently, customers can leave comments, which may not always be complimentary.
Sometimes, negative comments on social media may be unfounded or malicious. Other times, they’re justified. Either way, negative engagement must be managed with care because how you respond to such comments is crucial to your brand reputation. Here are ten tips to help you deal with social media negativity.
1. Don’t Delete Negative Comments
Your first reaction to negative interactions might be to delete them. After all, who wants potentially damaging comments left on their branded social media accounts? However, deleting comments may suggest to other users that you have something to hide. It’s also likely to infuriate the commentator, resulting in them airing their complaint elsewhere. Therefore, unless comments are offensive, abusive, or spam, it’s best to respond rather than delete them.
2. Respond Quickly
Negative engagement can quickly become a thread of me-too comments. Therefore, it’s best not to leave complaints on social media unanswered. Prompt answering quickly demonstrates to other users that your company cares and is listening. It also indicates that you use your social media accounts to engage with customers rather than merely as a promotional medium.
3. Personalize the Message
The simplest way to respond to negative social media comments is to copy and paste a standard reply. That approach would undoubtedly save time. But then, everyone would see the repeated use of that stock response, indicating that you get many complaints and don’t care. It would be better to craft a personalized reaction addressing the customer by name and mentioning the specific circumstances of the complaint. Then, the customer will feel valued, and other users will see that your company values individual customers.
4. Don’t Bite Back
Some people turn into keyboard warriors online and leave fierce comments. If you respond with similar anger, you’ll likely spark a public war of words that will do nothing for your brand reputation. So, try not to overreact. Instead, adopt the same conciliatory tone with angry comments as any other negative engagement.
5. Say Sorry
It’s crucial to remember that your response to a negative comment is as much for the benefit of other customers as it is for the complainant. Indeed, how you respond will demonstrate if yours is a brand that listens. Consequently, if a customer expresses dissatisfaction, it’s best to apologize, even if you disagree with their point of view. There’s no need to grovel. Still, saying you’re sorry always goes a long way towards showing that you care.
6. Don’t Make Excuses
Making excuses or attempting to shift the blame won’t resolve the issue. Suppose your carrier lets you down, leading to late deliveries, for example. In that case, it’s not your fault. Nevertheless, the customer could argue that you should have picked a better freight carrier. Take ownership of the issue and demonstrate that you’ll take steps to solve the problem, even when the problem isn’t your own.
7. Respond with a Solution
It would help if you were seen to offer a solution to a customer’s complaint for the benefit of the complainant and the wider audience. Sometimes, that might be as simple as providing a replacement or refund. In other situations, you might request that they DM (direct message) you with further details so that you can investigate the matter further. The crucial thing is that you’re seen to be doing something.
8. Say Thank You for Feedback
Negative comments aren’t always bad news or bad for business. If you respond to negative engagement appropriately, it could enhance your brand reputation. And negative comments could help you improve your products or services. So, thank customers for their comments on your social media accounts regardless of whether they’re complementary or otherwise.
9. Take It Offline
It’s best to avoid getting into a lengthy debate with a dissatisfied customer on social media. If you do, the conversation might reveal more damaging details about the situation or make your brand appear argumentative. The best approach is to craft a polite response acknowledging the problem and requesting that further conversion be taken offline or to direct messages.
10. Don’t Engage with Trolls
Unfortunately, some get a kick out of making unpleasant comments about brands and individuals. These people, known as trolls, are best ignored. The best approach is to delete such comments and report the user to the social media platform. If you engage with trolls, it’ll only encourage more negative engagement.
Social media provides a powerful marketing platform. However, it can also be a bit of a minefield for brands as you deal with customer complaints in public. Consequently, it’s advisable to consider how the complainant and other users will receive responses before posting a reply.