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Best Practices for Handling Negativity in Social Media

How do you handle Negativity in Social Media? 

Social media allows people to connect, interact and share online. It provides a great way to engage with a community of followers, customers and potential customers. A company’s social media presence contributes to how they are perceived in the marketplace by their largest following. Just how people visit a company website to see if they are credible, they also check social media sites. Social media is also a great tool for companies to learn about their customers – what they like or don’t like, what their interests are and what engages them in conversation.

According to Awareness, Inc., of companies using social media 96% measure number of fans and followers, 89% measure traffic, 84% measure mentions, 55% track share of voice, and 51% track sentiment.

Learning what customers don’t like is a sure result of setting up a social media page.

No matter how much time and effort you spend making sure your products are the best possible and your customer service is top notch, you are bound to get disapproval from someone.

If you are experiencing negativity – you are not alone. What makes you stand out is how you deal with it (and you definitely need to deal with it!). All negative comments aside, people are talking about YOU…this is a good thing.  

Whether your company’s social media “tone” is buttoned-up and professional or laid back and personal, it is important to address negativity and turn it into something positive. Create a plan for when you come across dissatisfied customers, such as a set of Social Media Guidelines, and stick to them. It is also best to be familiar with social media etiquette. This will help prepare you to engage with your customers.

(Checklist) Best Practices for Dealing with Negativity in Social Media

Best Practices for Dealing with Negativity in Social Media:

  • Spot-Check: Be sure to check your social media sites daily.  Plan on spot-checking for comments when you get into work in the morning and before you leave in the afternoon. This way a negative comment will not be lingering there for days unaddressed, causing even more damage.  
  • R.E.S.P.E.C.T: Always treat fans, followers, customers, and even haters on a rant, with respect. You never know – they might be so taken aback by your positive response that you gain them back as a customer and now a supporter of your product or service.
  • Keep it Clean: Don’t delete it…as long as it is appropriate (your Social Media Guidelines should state what is inappropriate). If it is against the guidelines, delete it and private message the person to let them know why you deleted it. Also let them know if they have any additional questions, they can contact you directly at any time.    
  • Keep Your Facts Straight: If a comment posted is inaccurate, be active in correcting it. Remember to be honest and polite, “the customer is always right” mentality should still holds true here, so thank them for the comment and choose your words wisely when providing them with the correct information.  
  • Steer Clear: If a conversation occurring on your page turns into a religious or political debate, steer clear.  As long as it stays within your Social Media Guidelines, let them have a discussion about it, but you do not need to offer an opinion.
  • Last Resort:  Sometimes a user on your page might be so unhappy that it seems like nothing you say or do will make it go away.  If you tried providing them your email to discuss further and that didn’t work, try a phone call.  If that does not work and you feel like you have exhausted all of your options, as a last resort sometimes it is better to do nothing at all.  They might even quiet down after not receiving any more of your attention.

(Checklist) Best Practices for Dealing with Negativity in Social Media

At the end of the day, what’s important is that you stick to your mission, listen to your customers, and support them. Take that negative feedback and use it as an opportunity to engage and build a community of brand evangelists.  You never know, by the time you get to the end of the work day to do your final spot-check, one of your followers might have already addressed a negative comment from another follower before you even have the chance to.

Have you ever had to address a negative post in social media? How did you deal with it? Share your experiences in the comments below.

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