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Social Media Criticism: 5 strategies to help you deal with it

Social Media Criticism

How do you respond to social media criticism? Having a Facebook page or an Instagram account may be a great way to get your business news out there and get in closer contact with your community. But there’s also a darker side – when the keyboard warriors attack?

Direct feedback can be very useful to you. Social media criticism may damage your brand if it isn’t dealt with well, or if it’s widely viewed. How can you best deal with the inevitable dissatisfaction, grumbling or outright abuse that might be directed toward your small business or company?

We’ve put together a basic list of checkpoints to keep in mind next time you receive social media criticism. We hope this helps you handle a complaint levelled at you in a public social media forum.

1. Respond – fast

After a few experiences, you learn to separate the people who have a genuine complaint with those who just have an axe to grind (or just enjoy complaining). Luckily, most people fall into the first category.

Take the opportunity to engage these customers in conversation to solve their problem. This serves a double purpose; firstly you get to resolve a specific complaint and retain a customer. Secondly, it also highlights your willingness to take on board criticism to improve your service offering to others who see it. Scroll through any of the major supermarkets or airlines Facebook pages to see some good examples of dealing with spot fires. It’s much easier to retain a customer than win a new one.

Having a standard set of responses is a useful thing to have on hand for situations like this.

2. Get in touch

Sometimes it’s not appropriate to try to resolve social media criticism via a public message board. Often this is when there are personal details like addresses involved, or if a complaint is likely to be an emotional one where feelings have been hurt. Take these out of the public eye by responding via a private message. You may use a business email address to get in touch if you have an existing relationship with the person posting. Your tone is key here – try to be efficient, polite and solution focussed, rather than sympathetic or over-apologetic.

You may also wish to assign a number to the query and have a spreadsheet (or similar) to track its progress. This helps to ensure that you follow every social media criticism through to resolution. It will also help you spot trends that you might be able to fix with a tweak to your processes.

3. Exercise your power

As an administrator of an official page on social media you have powers. The best way to deal with things like profanity and spam is to click the hide button. The only people who can see it after you hide a post will be the person who posted it and their friends. Another option is to completely delete the comment or post. That way no one can see it, and you also get the option to ban the commenter if they’re a repeat offender.

4. Send it up the line

Mark Zuckerberg and his team are billionaires and part of their job is building Facebook (and Instagram) to be a strong community where users (including you) feel safe. That’s why all social media has easy to use tools for reporting things like spam, personal attacks and explicit content. It works on a confidentiality principle so you can report the social media criticism without the poster knowing about it. The moderators will then take it from there by checking the comment against their community standards.

5. Close the door

If you’ve spent more than 30 minutes or several occasions dealing with the same person’s online complaints, chances are they’re not worth the trouble. Remember, serial derogatory comments are not generally aimed at getting a complaint resolved (do not feed the troll). You may also refuse to negotiate with unrealistic demands, such as; “I should get my shopping free because the car park was full”. These are examples of conduct that could justify banning the user, and assist avoiding future social media criticism.

Keep a screenshot of the offending material (just in case). You can let them know that they can continue to get in contact via phone and email if they wish. Chances are they’ll just move on to the next company that grinds their gears and forget about you.

We hope this helps!

Of course, each situation is unique. As always, if you have any questions or would like some advice regarding social media criticism, or just using social media in general, please get in touch and one of our team will be happy to assist.

2 Comments.

  • Michael Gates
    12 June 2018 4:19 am

    These are great tips. I really like the plan to have standard responses ready. This would make it possible for a senior staffer to “respond quickly” without interrupting my day off.
    More great advice.

    • Thanks so much, Michael. It’s always better to be proactive rather than reactive when these situations occur.

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