When your business launched its social media marketing campaign, you probably never anticipated that you'd have to deal with negative comments and feedback from the public. But even the most respectable business that always does its best to provide excellent goods, services, and customer service is at risk of receiving negative commentary from the outside world via social media.
If your business has ever received a negative comment (or if it receives a negative comment at any point in the future), your first instinct might be to immediately delete the comment. Seeing a negative comment about your business is never a pleasant experience, and there's a good chance the comment will leave you upset. And you certainly don't want the public or potential customers to see the comment.
But before you log in to your social media account(s) and immediately click the delete or hide button, just make sure to consider the ramifications of simply erasing the negativity. While deleting a negative comment is one surefire way to remove a negative remark from the public's view, it's not a great way to make the root of the problem disappear.
On some sites, it's not possible to delete or hide a negative comment, so you need to have a plan.
It's important to remember that a negative comment or feedback that is brought to light via social media is not always a bad thing. Sometimes business owners live in a bubble – – believing that their business is running without any faults. It can be difficult for a business owner to see things from an outsider's perspective.
Social media is an excellent source for bringing to the forefront important issues (either positive or negative) related to a business. Therefore, when a negative comment is published, it should be evaluated for its validity and then handled appropriately.
It may be that a negative comment is just what your business needs in order to spark much-needed improvements that others were afraid or unwilling to bring to your attention.
Before you automatically delete all negative comments that your customers or the public leave on a social media venue, make sure to consider the following:
An immediate response filled with emotion is not always the best way to handle a negative comment.
If and when you notice a negative comment published online about your business, stop and take a deep breath. Do not type an emotionally-filled response and click “publish” without processing the information for at least a short period of time. Let your emotions have a chance to cool before constructing the most appropriate response possible.
Don't badmouth the commenter on a public venue.
Even if you know the person who left the negative comment and you know he or she is out to harm your business, do not bash that person online. The key to good public relations is understanding how to handle negativity and how to turn a negative into a positive.
A quick response is always in order.
Even though it's okay to take a short period of time to think about the negative comment and to construct a proper response, it's never okay to delay your response for days or weeks. The longer you let the negative comment linger without an appropriate response, the more damage that the comment can cause.
If the negative comment is justified, admit it.
Let's face it. Nobody is perfect. And no businesses are perfect either. If an online negative comment is justified, make sure to handle it in the best possible fashion. It can be perfectly acceptable for a business to admit it was wrong. Be sure to provide information in your response that explains to the public how you intend to make things right.
If your business wants to respond to a negative comment with an apology, make sure it sounds genuine.
If a person spends quite a bit of time crafting and posting a detailed negative comment, it's highly likely that the person is extremely upset about something that your business did or said. A three-word response to this sort of comment that simply says, “We are sorry” might do more harm than good in this type of scenario. If you feel that your business should apologize for something, make sure the apology sounds heartfelt and believable.
Try to have a conversation with the commenter in another venue that is not public.
If possible, try to connect with your upset customer in a venue that is not public. For example, you might want to reach out to the customer. Call, e-mail or invite him or her to your place of business for an in-person conversation.
Make sure the public knows that you take criticism seriously.
Ignoring negative comments can lead the public to believe that your business does not care about its reputation. Make sure to treat with respect all customers or members of the public who feel the need to post a negative online comment about your business.
As a business owner, it's essential that you have a pre-determined plan on how you will handle negative comments that are posted on your social media accounts at some point in the future. Even though you might believe that your business will never receive a poor review or negative comment, it could easily happen.
Ignoring negativity is not always the best course of action. Deleting negative comments without responding to them might infuriate the people who left the comments. This can lead to even further negativity. Understand that negative comments are not always a bad thing. If possible, always turn negativity into positivity. Your customers and the general public should certainly appreciate your efforts!