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Kim Jordan

How managing negative comments can boost your business

Warren Buffett said it best: “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.”

Social media is the perfect place for companies to interact with existing and potential customers—and build and maintain a company’s reputation. So, when an unhappy customer takes to social media to share a negative experience that they had with a company, it’s important for that company to have a crisis management plan in place to properly address the situation.

Let’s explore some of the ways that a company can avoid social media disasters, prevent them from escalating, maintain their reputation and prosper across all social media channels.

Watch, Listen & Learn

Many companies in today’s digital-driven world believe that simply scheduling several social media posts a day is enough. Unfortunately, this is not the case. After sharing a post with an audience, be sure to check in throughout the day to see how it’s performing. In addition to tracking the performance of the post, keep a close eye on engagement and reactions from audience members. If the social chatter is positive, remember that the post had great feedback and should be revisited in the future. On the other hand, if the reactions are negative, take that feedback to heart and, on a larger scale, reevaluate whether company policies or procedures need to be revisited.

Address the Negatives

Social media crisis management kicks into gear when a company’s social media page receives negative feedback. A natural reaction is to remove a negative review or comment from a page so that no other customers can see it; however, what happens when customers have already seen the negative comment, and then notice that it disappeared? The answer is simple—they become skeptical of the brand and of the company. And once a customer is skeptical about a brand, it will be hard to change his or her viewpoint.

In 2015, AgoraPulse revealed some big “no-nos” for companies when dealing with unhappy customers during a social media crisis, and urged brands to avoid the following:

– Deleting critical comments
– Blocking those who disagree with a statement
– Arguing on threads
– Providing personal opinions
– Losing the “brand voice”

An easy way to avoid aggravating customers or damaging a brand’s reputation is to properly respond to any negative reactions. When a company responds quickly and correctly, customers will notice—and in turn, trust that the company puts their customers first.

Pause Posting & Don’t Panic

While evaluating how to respond to a negative comment or review, it’s important to not share any additional updates until the issue at hand is addressed. One of the worst things a business can do on social media is ignore a visitor’s comment or review, while still posting status updates or replying to other individuals. If there are any scheduled posts waiting in the lineup, simply pause them until a proper response can be crafted and shared.

Utilize Direct Messaging

Following these precautions can be fairly simple—but what happens when a visitor is adamant and comments negatively on multiple posts that a company shares? If a company has followed social media crisis management protocol, but the same follower is still unhappy, it may be time to reach out to them privately.

Most social media channels make it relatively easy for companies to connect with followers through direct messaging. To show that a company is doing everything possible to fix an issue, they can direct message the visitor and spark a conversation with him or her. Once the problem is resolved, it’s important for the company to go back to the public thread and address that the issue was remedied. In turn, other visitors will notice that the company took every precaution to put that customer first. A simple response can go a long way, and it will show others that a company is willing to go the extra mile to ensure their complete satisfaction.

A strong social media presence will help a company succeed—no matter the industry. Being active on social media will help to solidify relationships with potential customers, increase engagement and help to humanize the company in an ever-changing digital world. Just remember, the key to social media success is listening to the audience, and then responding appropriately. By having a solid plan in place to address any negative complaints or reviews in a timely and transparent manner, companies will preserve their reputations and build trust with their customers.

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