How to Manage Negative Buzz on Social Media

Businesses on Social Media

Having a prominent online presence is key to businesses in increasing brand awareness and potentially increasing sales. For this reason many are creating social media profiles and building online communities to directly interact with their customers. But as Uncle Ben reminded Peter Parker in Spider-Man: with great power, comes great responsibility. So, you’ve created your company profile and built an interactive community and everything is seemingly going great, until one day someone leaves a negative review of your product or services. What should you do? What if it gets worse and other people agree with the negative comment? How should you respond?

Many in social media marketing find themselves in this tricky situation, as you can never fully control what happens on the internet. Whether it’s a surprise or not, bad reviews will happen. After all we’re all human and we make mistakes occasionally. What’s really important is not the sheer presence of the negative comment, but what’s vital for your company’s liveliness is how you handle the bad buzz around your brand. You can’t let one person derail all of your efforts! In the heat of the moment it may seem like this is a terrible situation for your brand, but it can also be the perfect opportunity to show off your company’s good customer service. By approaching it this way, you could potentially turn a bad customer relationship into a good one. Lets a take look on how to do this!

How to Manage Negative Buzz

  1. Never Delete: It may be difficult to fight the temptation to simply delete the negative review, so new customers and other followers can’t see the bad posts/ comments. Although you’re taking into consideration your brand and your new customers, this doesn’t satisfy your old customers, especially the upset customer who posted! The internet is transparent by nature, there’s always an audience watching! So when you delete the post, you’re sending the message that you don’t care about that customer or their complaints and, ultimately, you don’t want to get feedback from consumers. This would be bad!
  2. Don’t Ignore It Either: What’s worse than deleting, is when companies simply ignore the negative comment without responding. Why is this worse? Simple, it indicates a lack of organization and responsibility. Plus, no one likes getting ignored! Not only do followers see that you didn’t respond to the negative feedback, but you also left the forum open for assumptions, which could be deadly! The upset customer getting ignored will only build more hostility towards your brand. Since it’s on a public forum, other followers might join in and assume that you don’t care or that you’re a low quality brand, with little regard for customer service. For this reason share your side of the story and acknowledge the complaint, much like you would if you were face-to-face with the upset customer. Note: This doesn’t mean you should ever respond to the negative comment in anger! Responding in anger will only look like you are making excuses and make your customers feel ostracized and attacked. Never respond in anger!
  3. Take A Walk In The Customer’s Shoes: It’s easier for content managers or social media marketers to respond to the angry customer in a positive way when they take a moment to consider what the customer must be feeling. Sometimes on the internet you might come across a troll, someone who is just taking out their aggression on your brand to rally users to stop using your product for sheer malice, boredom or in the hopes of scoring free stuff. This may seem intimidating, but trolls are not the normal user. For the most part, users on social media are genuine customers. So, if they’re upset about an aspect of your service, then there probably is a real problem to address. When you first receive a bad review on your social media, remain calm and start assessing what the upset customer is trying to say. Once you’ve thought about why they might be valid in their comments, it is easier to provide a sincere apology and a solution to your customer’s grievance.
  4. Respond With A Genuine Apology: As the age-old saying goes, the customer is always right. Whether you agree with the statement above or with the upset user in question, it is best for business if you offer an apology. No company ever truly wants to admit guilt, but it needs to be done, mistakes happen remember! When apologizing, it is important to sound genuine. An insincere sorry just exacerbates the situation. In some cases, where you’re absolutely sure that your company did not make a mistake, still offer a willingness to help the customer and point to resources or services that will help resolve his/her complaint. By responding with careful consideration of the upset customer, you are publicly displaying that your brand is responsive, is actively involved in your community, and cares about your customers. If done properly, taking the negative comments in stride and offering help, the bad buzz around your brand should start to clear up.
  5. Provide A Solution: Sometimes this means offering a refund or replacing/exchanging the product with a new one. In some minor cases, you could also provide guidance for the customer to complete their order or to locate where they may receive assistance. The majority of the time, what the upset customer really wants is to be heard and acknowledged. So, if you can also resolve the problem at hand, the customer is primed to begin liking your company again because of your responsive customer service. And score one for the good guys! This once bad situation, turned into an excellent display of customer service, which can increase your brand trust and loyalty from your customers.
  6. It’s Ok To Block, When You Have To: What should you do, if you’ve followed the above steps and took all the appropriate measures and the customer is still unhappy? Well, you might have an expert troll on your hands. Don’t worry there’s ways to deal with them too! Remember while you don’t want to ignore customer complaints, you have the power on your company’s profile. You ultimately get to say what stays and goes on your timeline or profile. So, don’t let a badgering troll win! If you’ve tried to properly handle the customer complaints by apologizing and offered multiple solutions and the person continues to try to rally against your brand, then just block them. That’s the power of the internet, majority rules. Trolls generally make people feel uncomfortable on online forums. They’re often hurtful and mean comments alienate your brand from interacting with your community and finding new customers. In this scenario, it’s better for everyone (your business and your loyal customers) if you just delete the bad posts and block that specific user. Blocking and deleting should be your absolute last resort, always try to communicate with the upset customer and make it right first!

Remember negative buzz is not the end of the world. Life is messy and we as humans make mistakes. Customers are privy to this as well. They understand that sometimes there is a misunderstanding or things fall through the cracks. Customers want their grievances to be addressed, just as you would when you’re the consumer.

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