Social media has ‘exploded’ in recent years, and has quickly become a part of our everyday life. Sharing is a deeply ingrained human instinct, and many of us like to share our latest news and life events with others, whether this be an engagement, a new baby or first house. We must admit, occasionally it can get a little tiresome, especially in the summer when everyone is sharing holiday pictures whilst you’re stuck in the office, but it is something we all do.

It is also a powerful for tool for businesses of all types, as it allows them to increase brand awareness, connect, engage, and build a relationship with consumers, as well as increasing sales. Social media also gives businesses a great opportunity to show the human side and personality of the brand.

However, as part of the sharing instinct, consumers are increasingly turning to social media to vent their frustration and disappointment with brands when they’ve had a negative experience. We’ve all turned to social media to complain at some point, whether it’s about a faulty pair of jeans or a poor restaurant experience, and it can be a great way to resolve an issue relatively quickly. But the thought of receiving negative comments can put some businesses off engaging with consumers on social media, or even having a presence on social media at all.

Keep these five top tips in mind for dealing with negative comments successfully:

1. Don’t respond immediately

It’s important to take a step back, and notify the media team or necessary people, to decide on the course of action. But make sure your response is timely – leave it too long and it could escalate.

2. Try and take the conversation offline

It is important to try and ‘ring fence’ the comment, and take the conversation offline with a public response. This allows the complaint/negative comment to be dealt with effectively, and away from the public eye.

 3. Don’t ignore them

Ignoring comments on social media is always a bad move, and will only fuel the frustration of the person complaining. Ignoring a negative comment could look like you have got something to hide, or that you simply don’t care.

4. Don’t delete them

The only thing worse than ignoring a negative comment is deleting it, which will definitely anger the complainant more, and will cause them to react by telling all of their friends and family how awful your company is. According to Brandwatch the average number of Facebook friends is 338, so a complaint can escalate rapidly and cost your reputation. The only exception to the rule is if the post is offensive, defamatory or aimed at a named individual. In those instances it is okay to remove the post, with an explanation as to why this has been done.

5. Don’t get angry

For smaller companies in particular, you may feel that a complaint is unjustified, and it could make you feel defensive or angry. In the heat of the moment you may feel like responding with a defensive comment, but this will only escalate the situation and will make your company look unprofessional.

With 2.3 billion active social media accounts worldwide, you wouldn’t want to miss out on an opportunity!

Posted: 12/08/2016

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