Do You Have A Strategy For Negative Feedback/Comments In Your Social Media Plan?

Do You Have A Strategy For Negative Feedback/Comments In Your Social Media Plan?

What happens when someone complains or gives negate feedback online? Are you prepared for the inevitable?


Social media is a powerful medium and it can work for you and it can work against you. As the saying goes “a reputation takes a lifetime to build and a moment to lose”.

Marketers harness the power of sharing using social media marketing to promote their business or product. However most seem not to have a plan of action for when things go wrong. Here we look at turning bad comments and complainants on social media into good stories and advocates…

“According to the Social Media Marketing University’s survey of marketers, despite 88% planning to put social media to use this year, almost half (45%) of marketers don’t have a plan in place to deal with negativity on social media.

A quarter of marketers said they did have plans for a plan, 23% said they had no plans for a plan of action and 8% said they had a plan but it wasn’t working.

Overall, it seems that marketers, instead of planning ahead, are simply dealing with problems of negativity as and when they arise in the best way they can. While one in five do appear to put their head in the sand and hope the problem will go away without a response, over half (52%) responded to negative posts within 24 hours and 18% within the hour.”

When things go wrong on social media

When things do go wrong they can go wrong very fast. People love bad news and are often more inclined to spread a bad story than a good one. Whether you like it or not your business is online. Even if you don’t have a website and never go on social media, if you sell to the public they will talk about you, your product and service.

If you have a good social media plan you can engage with this conversation, perhaps lead it and shape it. You can respond to comments and deal with any less than satisfied clients or prospects. One of the key things to understand is that the power of this medium is the fact that companies and even governments (as we have seen) do not control it. So when you get good feedback about your business that is genuine and worth a lot more than any advert you could place yourself.

But what if the feedback is poor, or bad? You need a plan of action to deal with negativity just as you need one to make the most of positivity. Some basic rules are to be honest, be quick and don’t ignore it.

Basic rules of social media

Being honest is key; if your team messed up admit it. We all make mistakes so its best to just own up and say sorry. That will be received better than any number of excuses and reasoning. Even if you don’t think its your fault you can still say sorry; some people will not like the idea of that but lets have a look at an example:

Jane has made a complaint online that your product arrived incomplete and that she feels let down as she now can’t use it and she had plans based on doing so.

You can see from your data that she did not order completely as she did not order the necessary power supply (or jacket, or case, or stand…)

Now you could point this out and tell her that your company is right and she got it wrong and please reorder…

OR: you could apologise for having an order system that did not clearly state that she had to do that step and you will overnight her the missing part straight away.

Now Jane may not have followed the instructions properly but if she hasn’t it’s not all her fault; this feedback allows you to see that others may have this problem but have not posted about it.  It allows you to improve the order process and serve people better.

Reacting like this Jane will turn from opponent to advocate and she will tell many others how well you dealt with her issue and how great your service is.

Alternatively you could have ignored her or just told her she got it wrong and to reorder… what do you think she would say about you then?

Reaction time is key in dealing with negativity on social media

Speed is key to the success of social media. You must be listening out as much, or more, than sending out. Too many companies think that social media is a platform for them to tell the world how good they are; wrong. Social media allows us to take part in conversations and help people. It allows us to show how helpful and valuable we can be and that our company and products match this.

Listen and react. There are some tragic tales of companies that sent out a broadcast on a Friday and then came back to work on a Monday to find the internet awash with negative comments on their Friday post.

Part of your social media marketing strategy must be to have someone, or a team, responsible for monitoring at least the channels that you engage with (if not all) for comments and feedback. If a negative comment comes up and is dealt with immediately it cuts the chances of it spreading. Leave it and it will fester, grow and spread.

5 key factors in successful social media planning

Key factors in a social media marketing plan:

1.       Listen
2.       Engage
3.       React
4.       Help
5.       Inform

For me point 5 is the selling; informing people about your product. It is also least important if you want to succeed in social media marketing. Do all the other 5 well and 6 will take care of itself.


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