Handle your negative social media comments positively *

Handle your negative social media comments positively *

Negative social media comments and reviews are sometimes amusing, but they can pose major problems for businesses. Many studies have explored the impact of online reviews on consumer behavior, and the general consensus is that:

Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Google are unavoidable parts of running a business today. They increasingly act as the primary connection between your company and its customers, and they also largely shape your online reputation.

While these interactions and your social media marketing efforts can be productive for your business, they’re also highly visible and can hurt you if handled haphazardly.

For instance, when someone posts negative feedback on Google, all of your current and potential customers can see it, as well as your subsequent reaction. Is that reaction calm and empathetic, rash and emotional, or something else entirely

Handling negative social media comments and reviews poorly is one of the biggest reputation mistakes that internet entrepreneurs make.

 

If you’re running your own business and haven’t found a solution for gracefully dealing with your customers online, it’s time to change that.

In this article, we explore several strategies for dealing with negative social media comments, walk you step-by-step through responding to a less-than-ideal customer review, explain what not to do when managing the comment sections of your social media profiles, and finally elaborate on the importance of responding to all comments — the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Let’s get to it.

Strategies for handling negative social media comments

Not sure how to respond to negative comments on social media like a pro? These suggestions can help.

Ready? Let’s go.

Related: A beginner’s guide to social media for small business

Respond to the comment quickly

Woman Sitting On Floor With Laptop

The last thing you want a disgruntled customer to feel is that you’re ignoring their complaint or concern. Not to mention, casual bystanders (i.e. potential customers) will take your silence into consideration before purchasing your products or services.

Even if you need some time to look into their problem, there’s nothing wrong with simply posting an official statement that says you’re investigating the situation and will be in touch as soon as possible. Just make sure you remember to leave a response once you’ve figured it out (or it won’t be a good look either).

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Be sincere and transparent

Believe it or not, most customers understand that you and the individuals working with you are human. Mistakes happen. How you deal with them, however, is where you can really hurt (or boost) your reputation.

If there’s an issue with your products or services, let your customers know that you’re aware of the problem, and are working on a solution.

Leave the script behind and communicate your genuine concern and commitment toward addressing the issue.

Plus, negative comments can humanize your social media profiles. A constant stream of 5-star reviews might seem phony to some users, so engage with them sincerely to de-escalate situations and generate goodwill.

Related: 15 social media tips and best practices for 2020

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Give discounts when necessary

Sometimes people just need to know that you understand their frustration. When you back up a thoughtful response with a discount, you don’t just tell them you understand — you show them.

Think of a small discount as an extra token of your appreciation for their business, and for taking the time to provide feedback.

 

Just make sure the discount makes sense and is proportionate to the issue they’re facing, or that discount will look insincere.

Discounts can provide a variety of benefits for businesses as well. Although handing out a discount may cost you a little upfront, it often pays off in the form of a loyal customer, or even future business from that customer’s social circle (word of mouth marketing is a powerful thing).

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Interact directly with your customers

Red Phone With Cord

It’s not always ideal to handle negative social media comments on public forums. Know when to leave a polite and sincere response, as well as when to step back and directly message customers.

Not only do public forums reduce your control of the situation, but watching a Twitter battle unfold might also annoy your followers, even if you’re being kind and accommodating. And if you’re dealing with negative feedback on Yelp? Also a place where things can escalate quickly.

The bottom line is that almost every popular social media platform has a direct message feature. Use that feature to your advantage.

After you’ve handled the formalities of making a public response, move the conversation to private messages where you can explore the customer’s unhappiness and try to make it right. Just remember to conduct yourself as though everyone is watching, because people will take screenshots if they feel slighted.

Related: 3 steps to managing reviews online

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Make yourself available and visible

Your company website and social media profiles should make it easy for your customers to contact you, and for you to reach out to them.

A social media complaint response doesn’t always have to be incredibly public, either. If a customer complains on your business page, leave a polite reply saying that you’re sorry for their experience and that you’ll be in touch via messenger to rectify the situation.

You can also provide an unhappy customer your customer service phone number or email address to give them direct access to a human being — especially if the issue is ongoing or if you’re trying to troubleshoot their problem.

There’s nothing more disheartening for a customer than having to cut through red tape when they have a problem.

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Keep things in perspective

The best business owners know they have to take the bad with the good, and that bumps — like negative feedback — are part of the game. Strive to resolve negative social media comments responsibly, and stay focused on the good that can come from them. Your customers will appreciate you and your business much more if you do.

Finally, when thinking about your optimal response to negative comments, the most important thing to keep in mind is that your customers are reaching out for help (even if they do so in an angry or exasperated way).

Take care of their needs and, most of the time, they’ll repay you with loyalty and positive comments in the future.

Related: 4 ways to wow with social media customer service

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Considerations for leaving a response to negative comments

So when that negative comment inevitably appears, what steps should you take to make the situation right? We’ve got five steps below to guide you through.

1. Step back and take a deep breath

Some people are naturally laid back in every situation. But for the rest of us, it’s easy to get defensive when someone complains or attacks something we hold close to our hearts, like our business.

Do whatever you need to achieve a stable state of mind before responding to a negative social media comment.

 

You want your brand voice to be professional and level-headed, even if irreverence is on-brand for your particular business.

When you’ve achieved that mental state (or something close to it), proceed to the next step.
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2. Write out your response on paper

Don’t jump online and push out a hurried response to the negative social media comment. Take your time, and write your thoughts out on paper.

Taking notes and writing a draft like this lets you gather your ideas, consider how to best articulate your response, and determine if you think this customer deserves a discount, refund, etc. It also gives you time to think about what to post publicly, and what to keep private.

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3. Be ready to give something up

As you’re writing out a response to the complaint, also think about what you could potentially give up — discounts, free shipping, free products — in order to turn things around with the customer.

Ultimately, placating an unhappy and vocal customer will save your business money.

 

However, it’s important to phrase your offer in a way that comes off as sincere, or it may not end up helping at all and may actually make them angrier.

That’s why it’s important to get a second opinion on your response.

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4. Loop in a colleague or trusted individual for writing feedback

Two People Having A Discussion At A Picnic Bench

It might seem drastic, but a single social media complaint response can end up causing many issues for your business. After you’ve written what you think is the ideal reply for this particular scenario, get a second opinion.

Having someone else assess the tone of your words — whether it’s a colleague, trusted friend, or even spouse — can help ensure your writing comes off as sincere.

Show them the customer’s complaint as well as your potential response, and see what they think. It’s possible they’ll have suggestions on how to better ameliorate the situation, and they can give you an opinion on whether a discount/refund seems like the next logical step.

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5. Comment and track the situation

You’ve put together an on-brand, calm-and-collected response and had its tone approved by someone else — you’re now ready to respond to the negative comment.

After you’ve clicked “reply” or “send,” you’ll want to make sure the situation comes to a satisfactory conclusion for both you and the customer/user, so don’t sweep everything under the rug just yet.

Make sure that any promises you make in your comment come to fruition, follow up in a private message if the customer is unresponsive to your reply, and be ready to wrap everything up with a nice bow once the customer reaches out again.

If you’re able to turn these negative social media comments into a positive (or even just mitigate their impact), your business’s online presence will be a stable, healthy one.

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What NOT to do when responding to negative social media comments

There are several things you shouldn’t do when responding to negative social media comments.

1. Don’t delete comments (usually)

For instance, don’t delete negative comments. There are few situations where deleting a user’s complaint about your product or service is a good idea. If they are slinging profanity or posting off-topic things, it’s fine to hit the delete button, but don’t censor legitimate critiques.

Deleting a negative comment can create bad blood very quickly, particularly because people who take the time to post something on your social media are active users.

They are much more likely to follow up if they feel they have been unfairly silenced, and once other customers hear about it, they’ll all grab pitchforks.

Related: How to flag a Yelp review

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2. Don’t neglect your social media presence

You should also not leave your social media in the hands of untrained employees.

Consistency is key with any business process, and the same applies for your response to negative social media comments. You don’t want to deal with a rogue employee or intern tweeting rude things on your company profiles.

To avoid such issues, have a clear, written outline of your company strategy for responding to negative comments on social media, and put serious effort into training your staff.

Go over your outline with all existing employees, and make that outline part of the onboarding process.

There is no way to plan for every scenario, so your staff will always be expected to use their own creativity and customer service skills. Each employee should be prepared to do so at any time, with any customer.

Take your social accounts seriously, and you’ll be able to achieve a more consistent brand voice across all social media platforms.

Related: How to grow your business’s social media following

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3. Don’t argue

While you might not believe in the sentiment “the customer is always right,” you should abide by it when addressing negative social media comments. Even if you’re certain they’re wrong, don’t argue, and don’t pick a fight with them, because it will backfire.

And if you know they made an obvious user error, send them a private message politely explaining the situation rather than publicly torching them. They most likely will appreciate the tact and should move on from their gripe as well.

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Why responding to all comments is good for your business

Responding to all comments is the best strategy for savvy business owners because getting engagement is a challenge. There are many competing voices out there, and as long as the customer in question is sincere and not a spammer or troll, they are worth your time.

Unhappy customers create a dialogue about the quality of your products and services and may be a little help away from being a long-term customer.

Happy customers boost your reputation, connect your business to their social circles, and end up becoming the ones you rely on to keep your business running. Taking care of both demographics is crucial to your online success.

And with the right management tools and plan in place, negative scenarios don’t have to be detrimental to your business either.

It’s definitely possible to walk away from a negative situation with increased loyalty from a previously upset customer, as well as from the users — new and old — who witnessed the situation play out on your social media profiles.

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Respond well and enjoy the benefits

Mobile Phone With Social Media Reactions Above

The level of visibility afforded to social media presents business owners with a unique opportunity when they encounter a disgruntled customer. Your response to negative social media comments, if handled with the proper care and technique, can actually leave your business’s reputation stronger than before.

Whether the feedback you’re getting on your social media accounts is good or bad, engage your customers like never before with GoDaddy Social. Elevate your online presence on the platforms that matter most.

This article includes content originally published on the GoDaddy blog by the following authors: Genevieve Tuenge and Simon Slade.

The post How to positively handle negative social media comments appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.

Ask Questions on Your Facebook Page to Get More Comments *

Ask Questions on Your Facebook Page to Get More Comments *

How Asking Questions on Facebook Gets More Comments

 

As a business owner, I hope you have made the choice to build a Facebook presence for your business.  It makes sense if you want to reach your target audience, engaging them and making a lasting connection.

It’s becoming increasingly difficult to grow your audience using Facebook.  Especially if you don’t have the budget to boost posts or advertise.

However, you can still use Facebook effectively without spending any money.  The most important thing that you do is to increase engagement with your existing followers.  Doing this also prompts Facebook to show your posts more widely.

Do your visitors engage with you on Facebook?

 

Asking questions on your Facebook Page gets more comments

Social Media Engagement Matters

 

As well as signaling to Facebook that people like what you’re posting, high levels of visitor engagement also means that:

  • your readers will believe that you’re interested in them, and that you want to build a relationship with them
  • you’ll build social proof.  If someone discovers your Facebook page and sees you’re engaging with your visitors, they’re more likely to want to join in.

 

There are several different types of engagement, including:

  • People liking your Facebook page.
  • People reacting to your updates on Facebook.
  • People sharing your posts on their page or group.
  • People commenting on your posts.

 

The engagement I like best is when visitors comment on your posts.  When readers leave comments, it gives you an opportunity to learn about them.  They’re not just going for the easy option of clicking “like”.  They’re putting themselves out there and responding to your post.

This article is all about getting more comments on your Facebook page.  The most effective way I’ve found to do that on any medium, is to ask questions.

That sounds pretty obvious, right?  I’m amazed how many of the pages I follow never ask questions.  They never take the opportunity to get me commenting and engaging with them.

If you want to grow an audience of people who feel like they know, like and trust you, then you need to ask questions.  But not just any questions.  You need to ask the right types of questions.

 

Nine Types of Question You Can Ask On Your Facebook Page

Ask A “Biggest Problems” Question

 

It may seem negative asking your readers to share their biggest problems, challenges, obstacles or even fears.  However, you’ll be surprised by the honest responses that come out in the discussion.

You can even ask fairly specific things.  On a parenting page there might be questions such as:

  • What’s your biggest fear as a parent?
  • What’s your biggest challenge raising boys?
  • What’s the biggest problem you have in the area of discipline?

 

These types of questions help you understand your pages followers.  The reponses can also help you choose future content topics for your blog.

You may also find people mentioning problems you’ve written about in past articles or posts.  You can engage them and say, “Here’s an article with some tips on how to overcome that challenge”, driving people back to your archives.

 

Ask A “Question from a Reader”

 

This is a technique commonly used by my friend Samantha Jockel from School Mum.  She’ll often write a post like this:

 

 

Her questions which always start with “A School Mum asks” are sometimes funny, sometimes start debates, and sometimes offer a way in to more controversial topics.  And they often get a lot of comments.

If you don’t have any questions from readers, you might be able to create some by digging into:

  • comments on your blog
  • comments left on your Facebook page
  • emails you’ve received.

 

Ask A “Share a Photo” Question

 

While this won’t work for every type of site, however asking your readers to share a photo or video can be relevant to many Facebook pages.

This could work on many types of blogs.  Here are some I’ve seen.

  • Parenting blogger – “Show us a favorite piece of your kids art.”
  • Food blogger – “Show us the most recent picture of food on your phone.”
  • Travel blogger – “Show us your favorite beach.”
  • Fashion blogger – “Show us your favorite pair of shoes.”
  • Technology blogger – “Show us what you have in your laptop bag.”

 

You may not get as many comments as you would with other types of questions.  But you’ll probably get some really interesting ones.

 

Ask A “This vs That” Question

 

With this type of question, you get your followers to choose one of two options.  It might be something like “Are you a dog or a cat person?”

You can also use this for a yes/no question such as, “Do you exercise daily? Yes or no”.

Be careful if your question is likely to spark a lively debate.  We don’t ask about certain types of topics because the conversation can end up getting a bit negative.

 

Ask A “What are Your Dreams” Question

 

Ask your followers about their dreams and aspirations.  It helps you understand not only what your readers are going through right now, but also what they want to do or become.

This gives you another opportunity to use your readers’ responses to create content that helps them move toward the dreams they have.

People love to tell others about their dreams, ambitions and hopes for their future.  This type of question often receives a lot of well thought out comments.

 

Ask An “Accountability” Question

 

You’ll find this type of question used in a lot of Facebook groups.  They will often ask things like, “What’s your biggest goal of the week?” or “What do you want to achieve this week?”

This can be a great way to get engagement because it gives you the opportunity to respond to readers later in the week.

I left a comment on a post like this on Monday.  On the Friday the blogger left a reply to every single comment that mentioned a goal, asking, “What did you achieve…?”

I hadn’t reached my goal.  However I got it done ten minutes after he left that comment.  I was really grateful that blogger took the time to keep me accountable.  And I’ll be going back to that page.

If your page involves people trying to build a habit, learn something or become something, you could ask this type of question and then come back to encourage them and help build some accountability.

 

Ask A “Fill in the Blank” Question

 

This is a really easy and effective) type of question to ask.

For a blog such as Better Business Alliance I might ask:

My first blogging platform was __________.

And for a food blog you might ask something like:

The word that describes my diet is ____________.

or

My favorite comfort food is _______________.

 

The beauty of this type of question is that it’s incredibly simple for someone to answer.  They just have to leave one word.

Asking a “fill in the blank” question is often a good way to get someone to leave their first comment.  This is especially true if they’ve been following your page for a while without commenting.

 

Ask A “Question About a Blog Post”

 

When you share a link to a blog post you’ve written, you can add a question.  This will often encourage readers to read your post as well as comment.

For instance, one post I shared a while back on Better Business Alliance was “5 Steps to Developing Your Unique Selling Proposition”.

As well as posting the link to Facebook (which automatically pulled in the title and image from the post), I added a question: “Why You Need to Develop a Unique Selling Proposition?”

My goal was to get people reading that blog post.  But I also got lots of people answering the question.  We don’t normally get many comments on our links to blog posts, but in this case 3 people answered the question.  That particular Facebook post also had a higher-than-average reach.

Hopefully you’ve already tried some of these types of questions on your Facebook page.  The key is to get into the habit of asking questions regularly, and mixing up the types of questions you use.

 

Ask A “What are Your Tips” Question

 

Although people are coming to your Facebook page to learn from you, in any community there’s a lot of collective wisdom.

With this type of question you can say, “I want to hear from you today with your tips” about a particular area.

You may not get as many responses to this type of question as you would to a “fill in the blanks” question. But the responses will be deeper, longer, and more useful. They’ll be valuable both to you and your other readers.

And if you get permission from those who comment which you can do by mentioning how you plan to use some responses as future blog post topics.  Just be sure you give credit to the people who left those comments.

 

Final Tips for Using Questions on Your Facebook Page

 

You need to keep some things to keep in mind when asking questions on your Facebook page.

 

Ask what,who, where, when, how, and why questions on Social Media to get more comments

Always Stay On Topic

 

Make sure your questions relate to your topic.  Occasional off-topic questions can help build engagement, but don’t do it too regularly.  Your readers may feel that your page topic is getting lost.

 

Don’t Ask Too Many Questions

 

Mix up the types of post that you publish.  Share links, videos, pictures, and so on as well as questions.  Facebook seems to prefer this, and it’s likely to be better for reader engagement too.

 

Consider Using Facebook Live

 

Facebook Lives get more reach than other types of post.  So you may want to go on Facebook live and ask your readers a question.  Once your live video is over, it will appear in people’s Facebook feeds as a replay.

 

Be Specific With Your Questions

 

Don’t be too open ended with your questions.  You’re likely to get much better responses if your questions are focused.  You want to make it as easy as possible for people to comment.  If your questions are too open ended they may not understand how to respond.

 

Consider Using an Image

 

Using an image helps your question stand out in people’s newsfeeds.  It could be a plain image, or an image that includes your question text.  Spending a minute or two doing this could boost your engagement.

 

Be as Responsive As You Can Be

 

If people answer your question, they should get a response from you.  They’ve taken the time to respond to you, so take some time to respond to them.  That doesn’t always need to be with a comment.  You might use a “like” or other response, particularly if they left a “yes”/“no” or single-word comment.

 

Asking questions gets visitors to comment and provide answers

Will You Adopt an Asking Questions Mindset?

 

I hope this helps you come up with lots of ideas for questions you could ask on your Facebook page to build engagement.  Of course, you don’t have to limit your use of questions to Facebook pages.

You can use questions in Facebook groups, LinkedIn groups, on Twitter, or even on your blog.  Let me know if my article has given you an asking questions mindset?  Are your questions getting more comments from your visitors?