5 Main Mistakes in Dealing with the Negative on Social Media

The importance of dealing with the negative has been featured a lot, but in reality, many people are repeatedly shooting themselves in the foot. Despite this, there are a number of other safe and efficient tools to be armed with and easily cope with any negative.

Mistake 1. You do not track post comments promptly

Social media requires a near-instantaneous response to any action, since posts become irrelevant very quickly. But if it is a negative post, its relevance, on the contrary, is growing with every like; it can get out of control in half an hour, crossing the point of no return. It seems to be an obvious truth, but many companies still respond to the negative too slowly.

How come? Most SMM managers make use of post schedulers. This is a truly handy tool, one which smooths their path, but this is also the very source of missing the right moment to respond accurately to the negative. This problem is extremely severe for those companies with one half-time employee responsible for social media, or an outsourced SMM agency. After post scheduling, these two SMM agents just forget or fail to track post comments online and in due time.

How to fix it?

  • Set a rule for a 30-minute response to the negative. Why 30? According to the recent studies, most social media users will wait for a response to their post or online appeal for less than 30 minutes.
  • Designate an executive agent to deal with the negative. If you have a full-time SMM manager, specify his responsibility for treating the negative, and what that means. In cases of outsourcing, find a smart employee within your company to be contacted by SMM agencies when necessary to promptly sort out and resolve a negative situation.

Mistake 2. You don’t show any troubleshooting

Another common mistake is to resolve the negative under the radar. For example, on the online shop’s Facebook profile, there is a post by a dissatisfied customer who has not yet had his order confirmed or sent, although it has been a very long time since it was placed.

What is an SMM manager’s conduct in this situation? He writes something like, “We’ll figure it out,” redirecting this information to the order processing office (it was their fault). Even if the customer is promptly called back, gets apologies and a quick delivery, including a gift as compensation for his long wait, no one will know about it except for the customer who complained! Right, the situation is settled, but for a social media profile’s casual visitor, this negative post and the company’s comment will look like a double failure: first, in sending the order, then in its “resending” after the claim (after all, the comment “We’ll figure it out!” still remains on the profile, which means you are still figuring it out).

How to fix it?

  • Always offer people a happy ending. Remember: everything that is not said or written, will be trumped up definitely against you. So, after your first response (“we’ll figure it out”), always share how the problem was addressed. The issue should be closed!
  • 100% of responsibility for addressing the negative rests with the SMM manager. If the SMM manager is incompetent in solving the issue that caused a negative post, he should go to the ends of the earth to find someone who will deal with the trouble and personally make sure it was fixed (and then draw up a quick post about it). When required, charge the SMM manager with chasing colleagues to take the issue completely off the table, otherwise you will get the situation hung up more often than not.

Mistake 3. You forget that the customer is always right!

Even if you do not write “jackass” directly, it can be read between the lines. Just understand that customers have the right to express their opinion about your profile, posts, site, services, products, etc. Even if their opinion is absolutely wrong.

First, the company’s profile on social media is a site for dialogue and full-fledged communication with customers. So have a dialogue! Second, keep in mind that a customer’s opinion can be erroneous by mere accident or ignorance, so use a negative post as an excuse to tell about your products or services in more detail.

How to fix it?

  • Hold on to your emotions! Before writing an answer to the negative, especially if it is frankly provocative and affects you personally with its stupidity or ignorance, first of all, breathe in and out to calm down.
  • Be mindful of your tone. Rudeness often appears between the lines and words, so be attentive to your speech and especially to conjunctions that can completely cross out your apologies or excuses. Just compare:

“Sorry for your order delay, BUT we called you twice to specify the delivery address, and you did not answer.” Here, you shift the blame to the customer, and your apologies just fade away in your accusations.

“Sorry for your order delay. We failed to contact you in time to specify the delivery address…” In this case, after your apologies, you state the reason for the failure in on-time delivery, without shifting any blame to the customer. The apology sounds sincere. There are simply no conjunctions like BUT and AND.

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Mistake 4. You respond to trolls ignoring their specifics

The negative very often comes from trolls, but if you engage in debate, the stakes are high to turn comments into quarreling. Trolls’ posts are typical and characterized by a lack of sound criticism or specific claims. A classical general claim is, “Your shop is a piece of shit…” Following several rules, you will be able to promptly give up “verbiage” with trolls and make the best of them, since comments boost profile popularity.

How to fix it?

  • Make sure that the negative is coming from a troll. Regular customers, especially emotional people, also often provide general claims, so identify a troll by visiting his profile. There are some common features: a profile picture a la Orlando Bloom, no friends, poor activities (often only a couple of photos and profile picture).
  • Ask clarifying questions. Trolls usually go nowhere as soon as you start clarifying details: order number, disliked product, unpleasant staff, incident date, and so on.
  • Publish a detailed denial. After a troll gives up answering your clarifying and specifying questions, you should publish a detailed post-denial.

Mistake 5. You profusely apologize, hyperactively solve the problem and … overdose

First, it sounds insincere, and second, it is not always relevant, since you may not be completely guilty in every situation to assume the entire negative. For example, your manager screwed up an order, and the customer shares an angry post on Facebook. You make a thousand apologies and answer: “We’ll give him hell! We’ll fire him!” and then it turns out that the customer missed something and, in fact, everything was OK (there are millions of such cases!). The result is that the customer feels uncomfortable in view of dismissing a good employee because of his mistake, and you look like a beast with a sword cutting your staff’s heads off, unable to make heads or tails of the situation.

How to fix it?

  • Do not take the negative on yourself. It’s not, “We are sorry for failing you,” but “We are sorry that you are very upset.”
  • Act prudently. First, see into the matter, then pause, and only after that make drastic decisions, much less make posts.

5 life hacks when dealing with the negative

  1. Always give thanks for feedback at the beginning of the post. The gratitude reduces the negative, shows your competency and emphasizes the importance of the negative post author to you.
  2. If the negative comes as emotion (everything is disliked), quickly translate the conversation into troubleshooting.
  3. Move troubleshooting to PM only if it requires personal data, but be sure to mention in your post how one or another issue was addressed.
  4. Track what people say about you on social media by means of services like YouScan, Babkee, IQBuzz, Socialmention, and others.
  5. Use a sense of humor where relevant.

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