The world of social media has encapsulated the business community. 10 years ago who would of ever thought it would become such a big part of a company’s online strategy? Remember when most of what you saw on social media was for friends and family? How the times have changed!
Today, social media is a critical component to any business’s web strategy. Not only does social media marketing enable a company to communicate directly to its audience, but it serves as a critical aid for web rankings and corporate credibility. I can honestly say that I have seen business’ ‘saved’ in the last 5 years because of social media - it has that much power.
On the other hand, I have also witnessed social media communication from businesses that leave me shaking my head. Social media certainly can be a double-edged sword - but having an effective strategy, the right tone, and the ability to react effectively can keep your online web presence favourable.
So let me ask you, what is your social strategy for negative feedback or confrontation? Ignore and delete? Respond defensively? Rectify the situation? I have seen them all. Here are a few suggestions we believe can keep you looking honourable - that you really do care about your customer’s experience.
Determine the Validity
It’s no secret that some people are impossible to please. I have seen people signup to a business’s social media account just to make unwarranted negative statements. Heck, I’ve even heard of other businesses engage in dirty games where they get people they know to smear their competitors online. Yup, sadly this happens. You need to determine the validity of the feedback, investigate it, and start a course of action to remedy it quickly. Is the feedback real or fake? If it is a clear, unwarranted attack, make the claim publicly then delete the comment and ban the user if possible. It may not be possible on third party review sites such as Google Reviews, so make sure you provide the information to ensure viewers can spot the false accusation. If valid, you can also try reporting the smear to the site’s webmaster and ask them to remove the content.
If a customer has come to you with a valid complaint, how you react could not only retain that relationship, but secure future customers based on your communication. In marketing, it is commonly understood that it costs 10x more to gain new customers as it does to retain current ones. Simply deleting or removing the customer’s feedback is bad PR form and will further irritate the individual who once supported your business. A quick, honest answer will go a long way in keeping everyone happy. Remember, mistakes happen - nobody is perfect. All we can do is control how we react to the situation.
Keep your Eyes and Ears Open
Based on the size of your business and how big a role social media plays in your business, it can be a large task to constantly monitor all your social media accounts. Make sure all the alert features are enabled for your accounts so you are notified when someone leaves a comment. Also ensure you are checking your most popular accounts - that is where most of the action will happen. Always ensure you are answering direct messages in a timely matter. Have a game plan for the public forums with scheduled time to do so. We offer various social media marketing packages that include account monitoring for our clients. If this is something you would like an agency like us to handle, we can do that.
Encourage 1-on-1 Dialogue
The best way to solve any problem is through effective dialogue. The faster your discussion goes private - the better! Encourage the user to private message you, email you directly, or even better - pick up the phone and call you in person. A solution is more likely to be reached 1-on-1 rather than on a public forum. Engaging in a long, drawn out message thread is a huge waste of everyone’s time, unlikely to come to a resolution and may expose more issues than necessary. By reaching out to the customer, it shows the rest of the group watching that you truly care about their experience and you want to rectify the situation.
Try and Make it Right
If a complaint is truly warranted, be polite and do your best to make the situation right. For example, if a customer ordered shoes that were the wrong size or damaged, respond with an apology and tell them you will be contacting them privately with a free return label, a new pair of shoes or a refund. Not only does this rectify the situation, but it puts the minds of onlookers to ease knowing that if anything were to happen to their order, it would be looked after.
Reward your Promoters
There is only one way to really combat bad reviews - get good ones! The more good reviews your company has online, the better you look. Acknowledge your loyal followers and reward the customers who have left good reviews with some sort of incentive. A simple thank you goes a long way. Maybe even a small gift certificate or discount on their next purchase. Rewarding your followers will keep them happy, engaged and hopefully returning to your business when they are ready to purchase again.
We hope these recommendations come to mind the next time you have to deal with negative feedback on your social media accounts. Always remember, people are watching. If you need help with your social media marketing, we have a number of plans available to choose from. Each plan comes with account monitoring where we notify you as soon as feedback comes in. Contact us if you are interested in how we can help your social media presence.