5 Ways to Manage Negative Feedback on Social Media

How to Manage Negative Feedback on Social Media

Social media management is not for the faint-hearted. When managing a Twitter / Facebook / Instagram account with a large following, people can be ruthless and unreasonable… sometimes with good reason.

Social media is rapidly becoming the place for disgruntled consumers to come air their complaints, and as hard as we may try, it’s impossible to make everyone happy.

Being that social media profiles are the digital face of your brand, we want to do what we can to keep them blemish free. However, this raises an interesting question, if we can’t keep people from complaining and bad mouthing us on social media, how do we turn those ugly outbreaks into a clean, pretty surface? These 5 steps will help us focus on the consumer while still protecting our online presence.

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We need a Process to Manage Negative Feedback

One of the first things to do, upon setting up your social media presence, is to analyze the possible types of consumer feedback and identify the members of your team who would be best suited to respond to that feedback. Whether it was praise or complaint, we want to make sure and respond to everyone. When urgent things come through your feed like, “the apples we received were rotten,” or critiques like, “I was expecting my order on Wednesday and it didn’t arrive until Friday,” it’s crucial to pass that on to the correct person in each department and respond to the consumer in a timely manner. This is a very key component to the process…

The primary goal is to address the problem that caused the complaint instead of the complaint itself.


Different Types of Feedback

Once the feedback comes in, it’s important to gauge what type of feedback we are receiving. Not all negative feedback is the same and in my opinion, there are 4 distinct types of negative feedback:

Critical: An example of pressing negative feedback would be someone Tweeting, “Hey @yourcompanyhere – I opened my product this morning and it was destroyed” This type of feedback is simply a heads-up of a problem you might have to act on immediately.
Constructive: This type of feedback is usually coming from a good place. An example of constructive feedback would be, “I had some issues opening the package and would like to suggest an easy to open version.” Constructive feedback gives you an opportunity to modify certain things in the future.
Disgruntled: People can get nasty on social media, over both big and little things. Generally these people are very upset because of something and they can’t be reasoned with. The best thing to do in this instance is apologize and move on.
Spam: Just like with email, we have gotten people who respond to a tweet with an abstract URL or some comment totally unrelated to the post… these we can ignore.


Responding to Everything…Within Reason

So many times, you hear people say to respond to every thing on social media, but all community managers know that some situations are beyond mediation. Absolutely respond to both pressing and constructive feedback, but it’s only necessary to respond to about 90% of disgruntled feedback. Apologizing, offering up a solution, or even just offering up the opportunity to cater to this concern in the future can go a long way. However, sometimes there are people that are unreasonable and antagonistic. In this case, we opt out of continuing a conversation. There’s a huge difference between negative feedback and trolling.


Take Negative Feedback Offline

When feedback comes in, sometimes we don’t know what it’s going to turn into. If the conversation starts to spiral, don’t be afraid to DM or private message them instead of letting it drag on in everyone’s feeds. Some things are best handled behind closed doors.

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It’s Not Personal

While some people may be angry enough to personally criticize you, it’s not about you.  Think of negative consumer feedback like a bad high school relationship; “it’s not you… it’s me (the customer).”  Social media is destination #1 for complaints, so don’t take it too much to heart.  At the end of the day, “treat others like you would like to be treated.”  Do the best you can to listen to their feedback, apologize, offer a solution moving forward. Beyond that, there’s not much more you can do.

How do you manage negative feedback?  Let me know in the comments below.


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