Social media has become an essential part of communicating with your customers and can be a really cost effective way of raising the profile of your business and sharing positive news stories. However, the real benefit of social media is not only producing original, interesting and relevant content but ensuring you actively engage with your audience. It’s exciting to interact with customers and potential customers – they can be great brand advocates helping you to build a following and stand out from your competitors. You can show different aspects of your company including the fun stuff you do and how you treat your staff – all aspects of brand awareness. Dealing with criticism can be hard but is a necessary part of business and most importantly you can learn from it too.
To help you get the most out of your social media comments (positive or negative), we’ve put together two checklists for what to consider:
Making the most of positive comments:
- Celebrate and engage with positive comments – remember to like comments which put your company in a positive light and it may be obvious but thank them too.
- Share the love - leave positive comments about the products and services you use as a business, suppliers are an important part of the business food chain.
- Retweet positive comments – you don’t have to retweet or share every comment just choose the most relevant ones, particularly if they give detail as to why they are happy with your product/service.
- Use positive comments as a basis for customer case studies – think about contacting people to build on someone’s experience with your company to use as marketing material.
- Generate positive comments by creating hi-quality content, reply to every comment and use humour where appropriate.
How to turn the negative comments into a positive:
- Don’t ignore them – this is essential, ignoring a negative comment won’t make it disappear and usually irritates them further – act quickly, reply instantly.
- Don’t feed the negativity – until you investigate further the negativity may not be substantiated.
- Apologise and be sincere about it – this is the first step to resolve any conflict – state that you are sorry to hear about their experience and you would like to rectify the situation, but don’t make false promises – get the facts first.
- Remove the interaction away from the spotlight – encourage them to continue the conversation on email/direct messaging or via customer support/telephone.
- Personalise the reply – don’t use automation if possible.
- Block negative followers – if users continually post unwarranted negative comments or appear to be trolling you then block them.
- Most importantly, explain yourself and learn from your mistakes.
There are also proactive ways to help monitor comments on social media to ensure they are dealt with in a timely manner, such as having a specific member of staff whose role it is to regularly check interaction on social media channels or even a rota of staff. This should ensure a more hands on way of dealing with potential negative comments rather than leaving it to chance. There are also a number of tools available to monitor when your company is mentioned or you can set up a simple Google alert. Lastly, but most importantly, there are regulatory considerations. ‘An expression of dissatisfaction’ is the definition given by the FCA of a complaint which includes social media – meaning you must handle the comment in an appropriate way, by the appropriate teams. It’s essential you have the internal systems in place to deal with complaints even if online issues are initially dealt with by marketing or PR personnel.