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Fans Bite Back: How to Deal with Negative Feedback on Social Media

Several stories have made their way around the Twittersphere lately about social media meltdowns. When your social media manager loses his or her cool, that’s one of the most public, unprofessional and, well, trashy things you can do for your brand. (This totally crazy story about a ballet studio that flipped out over a mediocre review is a great example.) So, the next time you get a negative comment from a customer on your Facebook, Twitter or blog, take a deep breath. We’re here to help.

If you have an engaged Facebook following, you’re probably getting questions and comments posted to your page pretty regularly. B2C tend to have more engaged followings than B2B companies, partially just because people like to get on Facebook and talk about the things they like (or dislike): restaurants, bars, shopping, salons, gyms and more. So, your Facebook page can be your best friend (a bank of great testimonials and positive feedback) or your worst enemy (a place for unhappy customers to slam you).

First, always be conscientious about dealing with positive feedback. When people ask you a question, answer it (or let them know how to reach you for more assistance). When people give you a compliment, say thank you!  Second, have a gameplan for how to handle negative remarks. You have the ability to remove posts, but we don’t recommend this unless people are being deliberately vulgar or inflammatory on your page. It is much better to respond politely to negative posts and to take the conversation away from the Facebook page by giving the commenter another way to reach you.

Here’s a good script:

If they say:  “My fish and chips were soggy and your salads were completely wilted! Not eating here again.”

You say: “Hi____. Thanks for letting us know. We’re so sorry to hear that you didn’t have a good experience at our restaurant. Please email us at [email protected] so we can make it right.”

Instead of deleting the negative post–which just makes it look like you have something to hide–let people see you handle the situation in a professional manner.  Whatever you do, do not blow your top. Especially if you’re just starting out, negative comments sting and it’s easy to take it personally–but it’s absolutely essential that you have a thick skin. Having a public fight with a customer is one of the most petty and unprofessional things you can do on social media. Don’t do it.

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