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Social media gives your audience a voice, which means that sometimes, they’ll say things you aren’t happy to hear. We’ve all been on the receiving end of some not-so-nice comments before. It’s routine on the internet, anyway.
But when it comes to your small business, negative reviews or angry comments can throw you off guard. That’s why you need a strategy on how to respond and tactfully handle any negativity aimed at your business.
You need a strategy on how to respond and handle any negativity aimed at your business
With these tips, you can turn negative reviews or other engagements into growth opportunities. In fact, with the right approach, you can even use your response to positively influence your brand’s reputation.
1. Always Respond to Negative Feedback
It can be a gut instinct to quickly delete any negative comments and pretend they were never there. But chances are people already saw it, and deleting it doesn’t do anything to resolve the issue for the person on the other end of the screen.
Generally, we suggest responding to every comment you receive. This includes unpleasant posts to show that you value people’s engagement and want to help them have the best possible experience with your business.
Publicly acknowledge the comment with an apologetic response, then take it behind-the-scenes to resolve
The best thing to do is publicly acknowledge the comment with an apologetic response, then take it behind-the-scenes to resolve. Ask the person to reach out via email or DM to discuss their issue further.
It’s important to note that this does not apply to any comments that are aggressive, cruel, or abusive in any form. Those should be deleted, and the person who posted them should be blocked from your page’s account.
Every company should have a zero-tolerance policy for bullying in any form, including any customers who want to direct hurtful, harmful remarks at your business or individual employees.
2. Don’t Take It Personally
You wouldn’t think that a social media comment toward your business could hurt, but sometimes, they do.
You’re only human, so no one feels good reading negative comments. And when it’s your business, your passion, being targeted, it does feel personal.
But no matter how directly a person may attack your business, they truly don’t know you
But no matter how directly a person may attack your business, they truly don’t know you. They are angry at their experience and situation, not you, no matter how biting their comments may be.
You can’t be responsible for other people’s cruelty, online or offline. But it can be helpful to remember this if you start to feel your mental health suffering as a result of online engagement.
3. Develop a Communications Guide
An in-house how-to book for your brand’s social media communication can make handling negativity a lot easier. This guide is entirely up to you, so there’s nothing wrong to include or exclude.
Use the following topics as a starting point for your guide:
Consider your brand’s voice. How do you want to carry that voice into more unpleasant situations? It’s important to ensure consistency across all avenues of communication, even ones that may not end on a good note.
Think about your values. How can you integrate your brand’s values into your social media responses? Many companies list honesty as a core value — in that case, you could always start by thanking people for voicing their thoughts and being transparent.
Plan out some negative responses ahead of time. With some drafts on the back burner, it will be easier to always respond thoughtfully and stay consistent. Templates also make it easier to avoid letting your emotions get the best of you. Just make sure to update them regularly so they aren’t insensitive copy-and-paste answers.
Personalize your responses. You should always personally address the person who is speaking, and provide customized solutions to their issues. If someone complains about not knowing who to talk to, let them know you’re here for them and drop your customer support email (or encourage them to message you on the platform).
4. Use the BIFF Concept
The BIFF concept makes it easier to conduct effective, meaningful conversations online. It stands for:
Do a quick BIFF check for every response to negative engagement. Did you acknowledge the customer, address the issue, and provide clear next steps?
It’s important to remember that your business deserve respect and kindness like anyone else
Asserting yourself can be done in a non-threatening way. It’s important to remember that your business (and the people who run its social media pages) deserve respect and kindness like anyone else.
BIFF helps social media managers protect themselves from harassment and minimize any mental health damages from running accounts.
5. Be Timely
Photo by KoolShooters
Avoid waiting days to respond to negative reviews, comments, or messages. You should ideally wait no longer than 24 hours for a response to anything online, especially when it’s visible to the public.
You should ideally wait no longer than 24 hours for a response
People are reaching out because they want help. In many cases, timely, respectful responses can help save a damaged customer relationship. It can also quickly clear up misinformation or misunderstanding.
Setting up notifications for your social media team, and scheduling checks throughout the day, will prevent any users’ comments, tweets, or messages from falling to the wayside.
💡 Bonus Tip: Use Social Media Management Tools to Centralize Your Responses
It can be time-consuming to reply to comments, especially negative ones. But it's important, and likely will pay off in the long run.
Social media management tools like Hookle are handy and can help you respond all comments in one place from different social media platforms.
Such tools can also make your social media posting way more efficient. You can plan, post, and manage social media across all your platforms in one easy app!