Issue: November/December 2011
Social Media Survival Guide: Open to Criticism
All the social media comments won't be positive, but before simply hitting the delete button, consider these four helpful ways to deal with negative feedback.
It's an understandable first response. A negative comment about your company appears on your Facebook page, and your instincts tell you to delete it before anyone else can see it.
“I strongly discourage deleting a negative post,” says Susan Rouser, Progressive’s social media manager. “It doesn’t make that angry customer go away.”
Instead, think of it as an opportunity, says Kelly McGlumphy of Roop & Co. “Social media is part of your crisis plan,” she says. “Re-establish that relationship, and show that your focus is on your customer.”
Be direct. The Cleveland Indians face negative comments nearly every day, says communications director Curtis Danburg. So the Tribe constantly monitors its social media looking for ways to improve. “We are direct in responding,” says Danburg. The team often direct messages the poster to make the situation right and even retweets the message along with the response.
Have a plan. The possibility of negative comments is exactly why all companies need a written social media policy. For Rouser, that policy includes who is authorized to post on the company’s behalf and how that initial response should be worded. “I take an apologetic tone, and look into it to see if we can do anything about it,” she says. Rouser has also reached out to individuals by phone or email.
Be transparent. Benjamin Bykowski of Falls Digital has been impressed with how directly shoe retailer Zappos deals with negative comments: “Their transparency enhances their brand image.”
Let your fans help. “We don’t always necessarily have to respond [to negative comments about Cleveland],” says Positively Cleveland communications manager Lexi Robinson-Hotchkiss. “The Cleveland people right away defend the city. That’s part of the relationships we’ve built.”
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