Social media is an immensely powerful way of building a strong brand. Unfortunately, the flip side is that when things start to go wrong, reputational damage can happen extremely quickly and be very difficult to repair without the use of professional online reputation management services.
It’s inevitable that your business will attract negative comments amid the chaos of social media, no matter how hard you strive for perfection. But dealing with online negativity in the right way will do a lot to protect – and even enhance – your brand. Here’s what to do.
Although you should never let negative comments provoke you into hasty action, it’s essential to deal with them as soon as possible. Letting criticisms and complaints go unanswered generates a strong impression of an arrogant brand that doesn’t care about its customers.
Unless the comment is downright abusive, ensure you reply with a simple acknowledgment at the very least. And if possible, rectify any issue there and then, before too many potential customers see the grievance without a response.
Your first instinct might be to take the matter private to avoid any reputational fallout. But while washing dirty laundry in public is uncomfortable, trying to hide an issue is missing a valuable opportunity.
Dealing with an issue in the open shows the wider online world that your company is responsive and puts its customers first. This is a powerful way of building credibility and trust for your brand.
It’s easy to become annoyed when dealing with an aggressive keyboard warrior, especially if their comments are completely unreasonable. However, you’ll never come out of a flame war looking good.
Staying calm and avoiding arguments will reflect well on your brand. And the more reasonably you deal with an aggressive agitator, the more public brownie points you’ll gain for your brand’s reputation.
Take Genuine Criticism Seriously
If the commenter has a genuine point, acknowledge it and thank them for bringing the issue to your attention. Apologize and do what you can to put things right. Make it clear what action you’ll take, not only to the original poster, but for the benefit of the wider audience following the exchange.
And of course, if a real problem has been identified, you have a great opportunity to improve your products or service for future customers.
It’s in the nature of social media that your brand will come up against criticism, complaints, and even abuse. But ignoring negative comments will only paint your brand as cold and aloof.
However, taking the opposite path and publicly resolving issues is an opportunity to show your company’s customer service approach in the best possible light.