The great thing about social media is that it gives you a public space to showcase your work. It allows you to share your gifts and talents with the world while giving people the opportunity to provide public praise. Unfortunately, that means it also gives people the ability to publicly express their displeasure with you or your services. Whether their feedback is valid or not, once it’s on social media it has life. How you deal with negative comments is almost as important as the comment itself. Here are 5 important steps for managing negative feedback on social media.
1) Take a breath – It’s only human to get upset when someone has something negative to say about you or your work. Depending on their comment your initial instinct might be to quickly respond and set them straight. Don’t do that. After reading a negative comment take a pause. Walk away from the screen and breathe. Even if you don’t think you’re upset, walk away. After you’ve given yourself time to calm down you can return to the comment to address it.
2) Acknowledge & Apologize – Don’t ignore negative comments. You don’t have to apologize for your actions if you felt that you did nothing wrong; however, you can apologize for the fact that they’re unhappy. A simple – “I’m sorry to hear that you weren’t happy with …”, goes a long way. Often when people are expressing displeasure it’s because they want their negative experience acknowledged.
3) Reduce public back & forth – If it’s over and done matter then apologize and move on. Thank them for bringing the concern to your attention and let them know how you plan to address it. If it’s something ongoing or something that could possibly be resolved let them know you’d love to discuss their concerns further. Provide them a way to reach you directly. Minimize the possibility of them replying again in the public space as much as possible.
4) Do NOT repost the interaction – Whether this was a public comment left on a page or a private conversation do not repost it to share in other forums. We’ve all seen the viral stories of negative business interactions that have been shared. Don’t report your interaction with additional commentary, especially if it ended unpleasantly. While you may think you’re “calling out” the other person it shows your extreme lack of professionalism. It’ll make future customer pause before considering to do business with you out of fear you could handle any possible negative interactions with them the same way.
5) Drown out the negative with positive – People are more likely to speak up when they’re upset, so that’s why it’s important to make sure you are constantly encouraging happy customers to provide feedback also. After you provide a good or service that they express pleasure with let them know you’d appreciate if they left you a review. Make it simple for them by providing them with a link or email address.
Negative feedback is a part of any job, so don’t let one or two get you down. Manage them correctly and they’ll barely have an impact on your business.
Written by Nyemade Boiwu the owner of African Butterfly Business Solutions – a virtual assistant business that specializes in social media
Find her on IG – @thatafricanbutterfly