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How to handle negative feedback on social media

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By Kate Ellis
NOW Marketing Group

Did you miss this week’s #MagnetMarketers Blab session featuring Jessika Phillips and Mike Gingerich on how you should handle negative comments and feedback on social media? No worries, we got you covered. Watch it below:

Don’t have time to watch the video? Here’s a summary of what we discussed:

Although we don’t want it to happen, negative comments on social media are inevitable. We’re going to talk about how to handle and respond to those comments.

A lot of people are frightened by the possibility of bad feedback, even wanting to stay away from social media because of the open dialogue. We have a different way of looking at it. If you’re engaged on social media you will be a part of the conversation! You can see what people are saying about you and be there to defend yourself when a troubling comment shows up. And, by responding you are able to showcase your customer service.

So, what should you do when you receive negative feedback online?

First and foremost, don’t over react. Don’t be tempted to delete or hide a comment or review. It’s just looks bad.  Plus, people tend to notice when you delete their comments. That can look even worse for your business.

Don’t immediately get defensive, either. Remember, comments will stay on the internet forever!

Feedback is good. What’s really bad is when people don’t tell you something went wrong. They’re never going to get their issue resolved and you’ve probably lost their business, too. So be glad when someone is willing to write about something that went wrong. Now you know what you need to fix.

Before commenting back, know who you are talking to. Investigate their profiles. Who are they, where are they coming from. Are they a troll or is it a legit complaint? Look into to the problem and understand it. Take you time if you need it. You can leave the comment for a couple minutes. Get context.

But don’t take days to respond. Time is sped up online. Be timely. Facebook is looking for you to respond in five minutes or less! Social media calls for real time conversations. However, Yelp and other review sites are little more forgiving, and give you a little more time to respond.

Once you have figured out who your talking to respond in a way that is able to help the situation. Let them know you’ve heard them, and if you need time to investigate, let them know that. Give them a timeframe for you to solve their problem. Please, don’t be tempted to use a canned response. Be personable. You do have other people who will be watching your conversation. Your fans are looking at you, waiting to see how you will respond.

It’s probably going to feel a little like public relations. That’s ok.

Essentially, responding to a comment or review is like responding to a confrontation. You’re just on social media. To work through it and show value to that person, don’t put up a wall. Instead express openness, that you appreciate their feedback and work it out in a positive manner.

And it’s fine to do this publicly. It will show everyone else watching how you handle yourself. Have you messed up? Own it. Let them know what you are doing to fix the problem.

A good rule of thumb? Keep it to two or three comments. If you can’t solve it by that point, try taking it offline. Ask them if they would be willing to communicate via phone or email.

A good plan of action is to incorporate a social media policy. This is how you decide how you will handle feedback before it even happens. It decides what we will allow and what’s out of bounds. Maybe for your business it’s swearing or it’s hurtful statements. You can also plan out how you would try to resolve issues as they happen or what specific issues will be taken offline. Just like you want to be prepared in case of a fire, you’ll want to be prepared for how you will handle negatives.

You might want to consider a three strike policy. If they continue to escalate it might be best just to leave it be.

If someone is being particularly difficult, don’t be surprised if your other fans come to your rescue. You can combat negatives with multiple positives.

To make responding easier monitor feedback sites, like Yelp, Facebook, and Google. To save time and make it simple, try using a service like Yext that lets you know when someone has left a review. Or, if you’re worried about blog posts you can use Google Alerts to monitor news pieces.

Once you understand why feedback is helpful, it’ll become easy to respond. And, once you begin to showcase your great customer service skills, you’ll begin to have a dedicated following who knows you have their back.

Relationship Marketing