Social Media is an amazing marketing tool. Businesses today can promote, sell, but more importantly, build relationships with consumers and other companies, on a wider scale than ever before. With the anonymity of the internet, however, businesses are also more vulnerable to the opinions of the masses.
The Social Media Bomb: So you’ve posted about your product or service and receive a negative comment. What do you do? While you may immediately feel anger, you now have the opportunity to defuse the situation and potentially turn a “negative into a positive” for your company.
The Usual Suspects
These “bombers” tend to fall into the following categories:
The Instigator: These types love to create controversy. It doesn’t matter that they know nothing about the subject at hand. They want attention and at your expense.
The Poacher: These are competitors that comment on your posts about THEIR business.
The Disgruntled Competitor: These types will discredit your products under the guise of a being a potential customer.
The “Glass is Half Empty” type: These posters always look for the negative in ANY product or service.
The Dissatisfied Customer: Perhaps the most dangerous of all, if a customer is unhappy and posts about it online you must make every effort possible to respond to their complaint quickly in order to shine a positive light on your company for other online readers.
How to “Defuse”
(Please note that each situation will be different and may require a unique approach.)
Stay calm: While your first reaction may be anger, and sometimes rightfully so, take a deep breath. You don’t want to fan the flames and turn something minor into an online wildfire!
Respond quickly: As soon as you receive notification of a comment it’s up to you to respond in a professional manner and in a timely fashion. A delayed response – or no response -may be perceived as a lack of concern.
Play nice: Acknowledge them by stating, “Thank you for commenting.” Even for an obvious instigator this can be disarming. In some cases, this is all you need to say to be responsive and politely end the conversation.
Make them feel important: Let the poster know their opinions are being heard by saying, “We value your feedback.” What if the negative statement is something you’ve heard before and need to address? The upside to a Social Media bomb is this can also be the perfect opportunity to address objections to price, quality, or any other issue you may be aware of, and set the record straight.
Be brief: The last thing you want is to get into a lengthy dialogue (unless the poster appears to have legitimate questions and you have the time to respond). If you have a prepared response to objections state them simply and briefly.
Taking it offline: If the poster appears to be a legitimate potential customer you can offer your telephone number, or other means for them to contact you directly, to respond to their comments.
When all else fails: If the person is being outright offensive, you can often delete their comments, hide their comments or even report them depending on the social media platform being used.
How have you handled a “Social Media Bomb?” Please post your comments and let others know what tactics you have used and the end result.