If you haven’t received a bad review on your product or service, you haven’t been in business long enough. It doesn’t matter if you really do offer the very best product in your field… a bad review is bound to come your way on Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, or Yelp.
While you can’t stop negativity on social media, you can control how you respond to it. With the right tools, you can spin a negative review into a nice little piece of free social media marketing. (Check out 5 Ways a Negative Online Review Can Actually Help You Out)
How Social Media Marketing Can Spin a Negative
If you want to spin negativity on social media in a positive direction, you have to follow my first rule of social media responsiveness: Be Attentive. If you aren’t constantly monitoring discussion about your brand, you’re going to miss your opportunity to respond to a negative comment. Considering the fact that 42% of consumers expect a response within an hour of their post, you’ve got to be on the ball to make this work.
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The 6 Steps to Dealing With Negativity on Social Media
- Listen & Acknowledge. Relationship counselors and advisors will almost always tell you that in order to make progressin conflict, you have to listen to what the other person is saying. And “listening” isn’t just nodding your head while thinking about your own response. Being a good listener requires a heavy pour of empathy. Hear out what your customer is saying, and then try saying it back to them. For example: “I understand that [such and such happened]. I can see how this would be really frustrating…”
- Affirm the customer. Empathy is just the first step. Next, let the customer know that their concern is valid. Leave no doubt in their mind that you really do care. You can do this with a statement like, “We wouldn’t want to have this kind of experience, as customers, so we’re going to make every effort to fix the problem…”
- Provide a solution. When responding to negativity on social media, never leave the terms of your solution open-ended. This is a big risk. For one, a lack of plan is frustrating for the consumer. Secondly, you could unknowingly create bigger expectations in the eyes of the consumer than you’re able to deliver on. Tell the customer exactly what you’re going to do about the problem.
- Ask what else can be done. You can also ask the customer what else they think you could do to fix the situation.
- Follow through. Step five is an obvious one: do what you say you’re going to do. And do it on time, too.
- Follow up. Lastly, follow up with the customer a week or a month after the resolution. Try a simple note along the lines of, “Just thinking about you, and wanted to make sure everything is well with [how we resolved the problem]. Thanks again for giving us another chance. We appreciate the opportunity to improve our product/service for our customers. Let us know if there’s anything we can do.”
Lastly, you won’t be able to resolve every negative comment on social media. Trolls and irrational people abound, and sometimes there’s simply nothing to be done. Otherwise, best of luck! If you’ve turned a customer’s negative experience into a social media marketing opportunity, we’d love to hear about it in the comments!