At this time of year with consumerism at its peak, with it comes the inherent risk of an unhappy customer. The thing that we are referring to specifically and most prevalent during the holiday season is how easy it is for a business to find themselves in the middle of a social media storm of negativity. Social media has given rise to a new way for people air their grievances, and many feel that this gets a better response than in store or via a call centre.
A businesses response to negative comments on their social sites will achieve one of two things, either diffuse the situation or completely inflame it.
This holds most true for owner operators who are directly managing their social platforms and have a high level of investment emotionally in their businesses reputation. It can be difficult for them to respond in a way that doesn’t default to justifying their position and further inflaming the issue.
So here are our top tips for dealing with social media fall out.
Scenario – Its Social Media Armageddon and your page is being inundated by a host of people with the same agenda who are going to town on your page in relation to a specific issue.
1. Craft a post to pin to the top of your page stating the following
What the issue is, how you are working to address the issue, the fact that you are attempting to be transparent in the way you address the issue and that any comments on this post will be answered in a timely fashion and to the best of your ability.
Write the post in Word first and have someone you know with a clear head health check it to ensure that it is simply stating facts and not defending yourself in any way as that will only lead to the situation continuously being inflamed. The nature of social media is that it is a freely available platform for people to vent their spleens. Often an outlet for months or years worth of pent up angst that in all probability has very little to do with the issue at hand. Imagine that you are dealing with the irate customer face to face and how you would handle it.
2. Answering comments
Private messages are gold in this regard as you want to divert the traffic off your page so that you can address each individual’s concerns. Again ensure that you answer each and every comment in relation to the issue from a clear and somewhat detached perspective. The sooner you do it the sooner the storm will subside.
Stick to a simple formula; acknowledge the person’s concerns , reiterate the steps you/ the company is taking to resolve the issue, remind them that there is a post pinned to the top of the page that you are using to keep everyone informed and encourage them to send you a direct message so that you can better address their specific concerns.
3. Don’t delete comments
Comments that are negative in nature should only be deleted if they breach previously set page/community guidelines or are a breach of advertising guidelines. The way that you address negative commentary shows customers and fans your capacity to resolve issues when they occur. The more transparent you are the better it will be for the company in the long run.
4. Time to move forward.
Once the issue has been addressed to the companies satisfaction and the posts from consumers have subsided (I recommend giving it 36 hours) move on, unpin the post from the top of the page get on with business, generate some great content and post regularly over the next 48 hours monitoring any responses this will push the content well down your page and if you have addressed people’s concerns effectively it will allow you to get on with building your business.
Note – The above can also be applied to single complaints but without the need for a post pinned to the top of the page.
Things to remember
Increasingly today in our society and many others people are not really seen or heard as such if you handle their concerns in a way that acknowledges them as a person and responds to the issues at hand in a professional and thoughtful manner you are likely to see them turn from avid complainants into raving fans. If you are attempting to weather a social media storm and not sure how to survive it then give us a call, crisis management is one of our specialties.
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