Handling social media accounts is more than just a part of your day-to-day business strategies. It is a responsibility that requires patience, understanding, and priority especially if you have a bustling social community of active and engaged followers.
Even if you have a great team of social media experts at hand, there’s always the challenge of dealing with unsatisfied and worst, angry followers. No matter how hard you try keeping your social profiles and business in order, there will always be complaints. Handling these complaints – how you approach them after they’ve been given – is what truly matters.
Below are just a few tips on how to respond to negative feedback on social media:
1. Develop a process for handling negative feedback
When you have a community of customers and followers alike, you should have a process in place in order to address the cause of the issue. A process for finding the cause and providing solution smoothly should be one of your top priorities. It’s not always enough to have a team if there’s no concrete process, coordination, and accountability.
2. Classify the type of feedback
There are many types of feedback you’ll encounter within your social communities. Some can be as mild as a heads-up, while others can be too disruptive and antagonizing. However, you should be able to identify these four major types and act upon them accordingly:
- Serious or pressing – Sometimes there are followers who will send a heads-up post or tweet that you should look into right away. These can be pressing questions, situations, or actual encounters by your followers and they would like to get your attention, so you can provide them with a solution.
- Constructive – You can expect constructive criticisms from both social media followers and long-time customers. Most of the time these are good points that your followers share, so do take them positively and with a fresh perspective. Constructive feedbacks can be treated as opportunities for improving your products and services and they can help in modifying other aspects of your business in the future.
- Displeased – You can’t please everyone and there will be people who follow you on social media that has a lot of negative things to say. These people can’t be reasoned with and your best resort is to apologize and move on.
- Trolling or spam – Irrelevant comments and posted issues should be removed and those people (or fake accounts) should be blocked.
3. Respond to (and moderate) feedbacks within reason
Make it your priority to respond to constructive and pressing feedbacks from your community members. It’s your social media management team’s responsibility to address issues that are important for your community. Apologize and offer solutions for issues especially for those who are displeased. But learn how to let go of unreasonable feedbacks as well.
4. Let your community respond first
If you have an engaged and well-versed audience, they are likely to respond first to those who need solutions real-time. Let them take the floor and share their knowledge about your products or services, while they’re trying to find a solution to relevant feedbacks. Let your community work itself out since it’s one of the bases why we have social media presence and audiences in the first place.
5. Extend your patience, be supportive, make necessary changes
There will always be annoying feedbacks that hold no merit or are irrelevant to your products or services. But do acknowledge every feedback and give possible solutions to the problems presented to you. Take them as opportunities for learning and discovering other facets of your business, as well as getting to know your audience better. It usually takes a lot of patience, but you will certainly gain trust and respect from your community if you are supportive and responsive.
6. Know when to handle the issue privately
Feedbacks that are too irrelevant or disruptive can be handled privately instead of letting them drag on in the community’s feeds. You can send a direct message to the person concerned and discuss the issue one-on-one.
7. Don’t take it personally
Social media accounts of businesses are often targets of negative feedbacks. This is expected if you have a huge and engaging audience. However, don’t take them personally. You cannot satisfy everyone’s expectations nor provide them with all the answers to their questions. The best you can do is hear them out, apologize, offer answers/solutions, and tweak whatever is necessary as you move forward.
There’s a huge responsibility that goes with having a business and social media presence. It’s how to respond to negative feedback on social media that will make a difference to your audience’s engagement which makes for a better community in the long run.