Brands have continued to increasingly rely on social media to reach out to their audience as more and more folks use social media today for a whole variety of reasons.
Users on these online platforms go to hundreds of millions. Platforms widely used by businesses like Instagram have users tallying to billions. Social media allows for direct connection and communication between individuals and groups that barely know about each other in the real world.
Brands can harness the size of the users on these platforms to spread messages about what they do and how people can benefit from their offerings. However, it is not always a walk in the park for brands on social media. Users also pick on these brands online whenever there are complaints about their products or services. Given how hashtags quickly gain momentum on social media, one complaint can lead to a flurry and a series of complains that can overwhelm the brand’s social media team. Negative comments are part and parcel of the online experience. Managing these comments well in advance before you face reputational damage is something that marketers have to grasp in today’s highly connected and modern age.
Do Some Social Listening
Negative comments on social media start from somewhere. It could be a customer who was not. It could be an isolated case or a series of incidents or instances that have happened to some customers. The appropriate thing to do is listen carefully to get a gist of the problem and strategize how to handle it. The best way to deal with negative comments in the first place, and to arrest such comments in their formative stages is to ensure that you listen first.
You can track the comments by looking at select branded hashtags or direct tags. Assess the comments through the various social media platforms that your brand has a presence. This way, you will have an informational advantage that will allow you to address the situation most comprehensively.
Do Not Argue on Social Media
Decisions relating to social media usage that are not well-thought-out can have a detrimental impact on the brand’s image and reputation. The chances are high that a sizable proportion of a brand’s customers, and by extension, the target audience uses social media. Therefore, this speaks to how important it is to manage social media activity.
When your brand is facing criticized negatively online, then you have to create a way of politely replying to these concerns. Inherently, these negative comments are like reviews of your brand, which should be taken in equal consideration as positive reviews would. How you handle these negative comments from social media users even speaks more about your brand. It is highly essential, therefore, that you do not spark any arguments with any users concerning any negative comments brought to light regarding your brand. Finding polite ways of responding to these comments can even help to sort out the issue fast.
If there are negative comments about your brand coming from a couple of customers on social media platforms, then it means that there is a problem somewhere. Often, it is customers who dictate how you should offer your services since, in the end, consumers help to advance your business through the purchases they make. Giving an apology helps to cool off things since it shows that you are aware of the shortcomings and that you are investing all necessary efforts to ensure it does not happen again.
An apology will help to cool things off since it will help to address the reasons or the fuel behind the negative comments and give your brand’s position on the same. In this regard, it will help to cut out a lot of work for you.
Use Private Channels After Making a Public Apology
When it comes to responding to negative comments on social media, it is essential to use both public and private channels. Using both channels will help to solve the problem in a faster manner. On the public scene, following up on a negative comment from a customer requires a one on one interaction with the customer by replying to their posts. Real-time engagement even makes the whole thing easier, faster, and more efficient since it increases the chances of addressing and grounding the issue as fast as possible. This could help prevent the issue from growing out of hand.
Efforts on the public scene should also go hand in hand with efforts in the private scene. It is important to use private channels like Direct Messages to follow up on complaining customers. This allows you to deal with negative comments from specific users on a case by case basis. Discussing the problem on a one to one interaction helps to get to the bottom of the problem, and even give assurances that such incidences will never happen again. Such actions can help in reducing the negative comments on your brand.
Evaluate Your Engagement
As a brand, negative comments and positive comments come in daily. Some of the negative comments may be unfounded to you and your brand, but you have to address them as well. Ignoring them could be the undoing of your brand, but it is worth noting that some comments could be derogatory or could even be hate speech. In this sense, therefore, you need to ensure that you evaluate your engagement, and know who and how to reply to the negative comments.
Evaluating how to engage the users online will ensure that you do not have to delete posts, replies, or comments since doing so may attract backlash from customers. This may create the potential for more conflict with the customers as it shows the lack of a definitive stand or position on a matter. There will be comments from a range of customers, but as a brand, you should know how to handle these comments so that you do not end up overdoing it and saturating your efforts. Comb the comments and craft ways of how and when to reply in the best way possible.
In summary, as long as your brand exists, then you have to anticipate and prepare for negative comments and reviews from customers on social media platforms. Your brand will not receive positive reviews day in day out, and that is why you should prepare for such cases. Handling negative comments shows the type of brand that you run, and also brings to light a lot of information about your business in general, including how you view and value your customers.
A systematic approach towards handling negative comments online can help to reduce the impact significantly the negativity would have on the brand’s image. These challenges also help the brand to grow and even forge a better image in the consuming public. In any case, approaches to suppress negative comments can only exacerbate the situation rather than alleviate it.