It shouldn’t be a surprise to learn that I’ve felt a transparent and honest strategy is the most important piece of any social media plan. This isn’t something new or cutting edge. Gary Vaynerchuk preaches it. Christopher Penn has been talking about it for years. Followers and fans process the honest information and trust is built between the business and its supporters. Not everything can be detailed and explained, but responding and posting content that is authentic and candid can encourage a strong relationship.
So what happens when your social media platforms start to get hammered with comments, video content and reviews that are negative and/or false? You can’t delete the comments. You can’t tell people to “stop it.” Now, if the comments are true deep down issues within your brand, then your problems are bigger than social media. Social media is a mirror in that aspect. If you produce roller skates and the wheels fall off after 5 minutes, Facebook is the least of your problems. However, sometimes negative comments have nothing to do with your actual product. The issues may arise from laws or rules put into place by a bigger institute than your own. For example, you might be a boutique whiskey distiller and people are upset they can’t get your spirits in their home state. While people may think the distiller is ignoring their state, the reasoning has nothing to do with the brand and everything to do with state law. That doesn’t stop the negative comments from creeping in.
So what does your brand do? We put together a quick checklist to help you out.
- Determine the validity of the posts. Are these negative comments true?
- If these comments are on Facebook and have inappropriate language, delete from the Wall.
- If the comments are true, speak with the manager in charge of the area in question and determine an appropriate response that is honest and to the point. This will allow them to not only help with post creation, but it gives management real time feedback on their managed area.
- Post an honest response that tries to answer the question or issue. The response should also be as airtight as possible to lessen the chance for response or continued conversation.
- Using search and listening functions within social media monitoring software, you are able to monitor tweets about your brand. Those tweets can be negative or positive.
- Take some time to respond to those searchable tweets with appropriate responses and make sure to send the important tweets on to the manager for assessment.
- By reaching out and responding to someone who did not officially tag the brand creates a feeling that the brand is committed to accepting feedback.
- Watch the content and determine if the content is valid.
- YouTube allows some videos to be flagged based on graphic sexual activity, nudity, suggestive, but without nudity, shocking or disgusting content, promotes hatred or violence against a protected group or encourages harmful dangerous acts. If the video has any of these subjects, flag it immediately.
- YouTube gives you the chance to respond in the comment section of the video. The post would answer to the issue. Along with the post, a direct message could be sent to the person who posted the video. The direct message would include email contact for management to further discuss the issue. The response on the comment feed would need to be as airtight as possible to lessen the chance for response or continued conversation. I would recommend one response and to not get into posting fights with a user who wants to cause problems. It’s a fight you can never win.
- Review sites such as Yelp and TripAdvisor need to be monitored multiple times per week.
- A response needs to be created for every negative and positive response. A review is there to help guide others. If the review is great, that helps a business’s cause. If the review is negative, people can read the negative comment, but can also read the response. Knowing that the business cares can help overcome some of the power from the negative review.
As social media connects users with each other and the brands they love, it is important for businesses and brands to understand how social media can be a powerful listening tool. It’s important to remember that the negative post or comment is not the big issue. The bigger issue is when the business does not use that feedback to create a better experience for their clientele. The social media feedback process allows for a business to learn what it’s doing well and learn how it can improve. That is a powerful ability and one that allows a brand to evolve to best serve their clientele.