Dealing with Social Media Criticism
There is nothing new in people criticising brands publically. For some companies it can be a baptism of fire, heralding the company’s graduation into the public sphere. What is perhaps new is that the internet and social media provide a public and global platform from which people can criticise brands. This adds a greater depth and weight to these criticisms than was previously possible. The question then arises of how to deal with this social media criticism, if and when it occurs. The answer is not to simply opt out of these social media platforms. This actually makes things worse as people will still criticise your brand or company but you will be unable to defend yourself. Simply put the best way to react to criticism is through kindness. Below are some tips from SEO Web Marketing to deal with social media criticism.
If someone is criticising or complaining about your product or brand, then apologise for their discontent with it. Whether their complaint is valid or not is irrelevant! It is always better to play the “customer is always right” card, than to pay for it later with a PR backlash. It does not make sense entering an argument over one criticism. Also your followers will respect your humility in apologising, making your brand appear more human and approachable, rather than appearing as a faceless corporate tyrant. Also people are not stupid! If the person’s complaint is clearly irrational or unfounded, people will recognise it themselves, and dismiss it.
Social Media Criticism Tip – Offer to help them, if you are able to help them:
When dealing with criticism, ask them if there is anything you can do to help rectify the problem. For instance if a person’s criticism is obviously dubious and ill-founded, apologise as previously mentioned. Then ask them if you can do anything to help them and improve the situation. In nine cases out of ten, one of two things will happen. Either they will provide you with some action you can take to rectify the situation. Or it will mug them into silence, they simply won’t know how to react and will not reply. Regardless of their reaction, you have been seen to react to them tactfully.
Social Media Criticism Tip – React Quickly:
With negative comments it is vital you don’t leave them. Respond quickly! The longer you leave it, then the more of your followers will see that someone has complained about you and you have not responded. This is really bad for your PR, as it makes it look like they are right or that you do not care about your customers. Also if you address these comments quickly it stops the issue from getting any bigger and discourages others from getting involved. In real terms a negative comment on one of your Facebook pages or tweet from Twitter, has much less lasting effect than a negative blog will. Respond quickly, this will demonstrate that you are taking on board their comments and that you care.
Social Media Criticism Tip – Interact with the complaint publically, and then interact privately:
If someone’s criticism continues or is difficult to address, then it may be best to address it privately with the individual. However it is vital that you respond to the comments publically first! After this send them a private message, explaining you would like to discuss the matter further with them via either email or phone call. This personal touch can make all the difference and provides the individual with the attention they desire.
Social Media Criticism Tip – Show appreciation for their feedback regardless of the content:
You should always treat complaints as constructive criticism. Often that is all the comment is meant as. People want to be able to voice their opinion. They also they want their opinions to be heard. Again apologise first. Once you have apologised inform them that you appreciate their feedback and will take measures in the future to ensure the experience is not repeated. However you can’t just say this, you need to actually take action to make sure it is not repeated! You can do this easily by forwarding their complaint to the appropriate member of your business. Sometimes bad press, if dealt with correctly can be very effective for your overall web marketing as it shows that you as a brand or service care and will deal with any adverse issues.