How do you handle negative feedback on your company’s Facebook Page?
Do you “ban the user and erase their comment”? Or perhaps you’ve decided to “be transparent” and deal with the negative criticism through commentary. Each of these approaches holds a danger to your company’s brand. Having handled severe cases of negative feedback on social media, particularly on Facebook business pages, I’ve come to realize that:
1) People like to be jerks because the anonymity of social media means no consequence, and they are free to complain without any actual authority or insight on the issue.
2) People do have legitimate concerns, and their comments/questions do need to be addressed by the company.
As a social media administrator, there are established ways to deal with these issues. As the company representative for your social media presence and senior management demanding answers to the most recent issue flaming online, you must learn to handle negative social media feedback differently.
A) Learn HOW to respond to your audience. There are protocols available on how you should respond to negative feedback in social media. The advice to “be transparent” simply isn’t enough; it is short-sighted, and may cause a larger issue that can escalate into a brand-damaging situation. As an example, is the commenter a ‘troll’ trying to bait you into a Facebook conversation you can’t win? Perhaps they are misinformed and a rational response based on facts is all that is needed. Are they a ‘rager’, where their rants or satirical comments simply won’t be appeased? Maybe they truly are an unhappy customer who just wants to be heard by the company with an appropriate action taken. The point is, know what type of negative feedback you’re dealing with and respond with a planned response approach based on a company-wide protocol.
B) Re-route severe and on-going negative feedback. Incorporate a filtering tool into your Facebook page that either warns the administrator of certain comments, or outright removes the comments that contain certain keywords your company finds offensive or dangerous.
But, wait, doesn’t this on-going commentary point to a larger issue around customer-service or actual issues with your product or service? Yes, very likely it does. But that fact doesn’t mean that the issue has to be carried out on your Facebook page. Be clear with your social media audience that these severe issues are ready to be addressed in other areas of your web presence–give them a link to a blog or a forum on your website. That blog or forum must be transparent, absolutely, where the audience can express their opinion on the issue and expect company feedback.
The difference? The situation is contained on a web platform meant for such conversation, the situation doesn’t interfere with the remainder of your social media audience’s experience who have no issue, and lastly, you’re able to update senior management with a feasible solution that makes sense for both sides of the table.
If you need further detail on this topic and the solutions proposed, contact me.
Chris Lamb is the president of Clickside Digital Communications, Inc. an Internet marketing agency & consultancy helping organizations meet their business-goals online. Clickside is based in Calgary, Canada.
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