The most beloved brands in the world still have to deal with negativity from time to time, because as the old adage goes, “You can please some of the people all the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all the time.” Instead of avoiding social media or ignoring negativity, here’s a 6-step plan to help you avoid the issue gaining traction and distracting from your core messages and mission.
1. Respond Quickly
Often, people with a complaint just want to be heard and acknowledged. But if you take days or weeks to respond back to them, you risk their frustration growing into full-blown anger. That’s why it’s crucial that you check for incoming messages on all your active social channels at least once per day--not only to respond to potential negative comments, but to also thank those that leave positive feedback, too.
2. Don’t Be Defensive
Choose your words carefully. You don’t want to make excuses or say that you never receive complaints of that kind. Apologize without accepting blame, and be sincere and thoughtful. A statement like, “We’re sorry this situation happened. Please contact us at [email address or phone number] and let us make this right.”
3. Bring Them Offline
Piggybacking off of the last step, working to bring them offline immediately avoids a back-and-forth public catfight. If they continue to make comments on your Facebook without reaching out offline, stop responding.
4. Don’t Delete the Post
It’s tempting to keep your business Facebook page free from any negativity, but in fact, showing that you responded quickly and acknowledged someone’s complaints can actually strengthen your reputation. People understand that no one is perfect, and having a few imperfections makes your company more human and relatable.
5. Offer to Make Amends
When they do reach out to you via email or phone, ask them how you can make this right. The fear here is that people might ask for some outrageous demand, but most people just want the wrong corrected be it a gift certificate, refund, return or apology. It’s not all about trying to get free stuff.
6. Block Them
If you’ve tried to do all of the above and the person is still complaining publicly and loudly on your Facebook page, you have the right to block them. Some people are just truly negative trolls that get a kick out of getting under people’s skin. To cover your bases, make sure you have some language about Community Guidelines on your About Page, even if it’s a tad buried. A good model can be found at .
Do you have advice for dealing with negativity online? We’d love to hear it at @integritive.