Managing Negative Comments on Social Media

Managing Negative Comments on Social Media
Social media is a necessity for businesses nowadays. Unfortunately, it's not always a positive experience for everyone. Negativity on social media is real and can have serious impacts upon a business, it's employees and owners. While you can't stop it, you can choose how you manage it. 
We asked members of our online networking group for their suggestions on ways to manage social media negativity, which we're sharing today. 

Managing & Responding to Negativity On Social Media

One of the great things about social media is that you can reach large numbers of people without a lot of effort. A downside is that these same people can also be reached by people sharing negative opinions or comments about your business. What matters more than their comments is your response and we aksed several NZ business owners for their suggestions on how this can be done:
  • It’s hard not to take everything personally, especially when you’ve put your heart and soul into your business. I read somewhere “It’s business, don’t take it personally; And if it is personal, then it’s not business” Treating it as business removes the emotional responses. Acknowledge ALL feedback and comments, good or bad.
  • Keep going. There are plenty of trolls, if you are on solid ground with your subject matter, there's nothing to apologise for and there will always be detractors, often those closest to you.
  • Trolls exist...finding fun in potentially destroying your hard work. Delete and forget quickly, never engage. Then there's the customer you failed for whatever reason, make good as best you can... You may have to lose to save face,. Customers matter, trolls do not.
  • The worst thing you can do is to delete negative comments because this makes you look unprofessional and like you have something to hide. Respond in a calm and professional manner. Invite them to contact you privately to discuss and resolve the issue.
  • Take the emotion out of your reply when replying to negative comments, keep it professional, ask them to private message you the details rather than having them rant and rave for the world too see.
  • Take time away from the computer to think about how to deal with it. Don't take it to heart and think about this, that if it's price related they are not your ideal customer.
  • Investigate and document findings, why the client left a negative comment, what happened behind it, set a preventative process/strategy in place - if the negative comment was deceptive? If it's from a well-natured client, take it as an opportunity to win more.
  • If you make a mistake own it without laying blame elsewhere!! I recently made a HUGE mistake with a Wedding order and by owning my mistake, genuinely apologising and speaking with them directly we dealt with it and moved on without negative feedback impacting my business. I was gutted at making such a mistake on a special day like this but it could've been a whole lot worse if I'd laid blame or ignored it.
  • Dont argue with bad feedback. If you're going to respond it needs to be mature and reasoned - not argumentative. Also, remember some people will never be happy! I found this to be the case when working in the ecommerce business; no matter how much we tried to please some people, they weren't satisfied.
  • Everyone makes mistakes. It's OK to admit you had a bad day, to apologise, that you didn't meet expectations. However, sometimes the negative feedback can be invalid, or relate to mismatched expectations, misunderstandings. Best not to argue, accept you have lost a customer. Arguing won't win the customer back. Best to treat those that leave with respect, and others reading along, will value that respect, and possibly see the wood through the trees. Take time before responding to ensure your response is calm.
  • Always thank them for their comments and give a positive statement back about how their valuable feedback is helping the team to improve on their services. I love bad feedback, it is what makes us grow. When commenting try not to have what I call "writers rage" and fire back quickly. Take the time to methodically think about your response. Hide their comment until such time as you are prepared to respond then put both back on :)

A common theme is that you take the time to respond appropriately to negative comments, and we think that's great advice.

Posted: Saturday 2 March 2019