As a business owner, you have put your heart and soul into your company. You work long days and nights, you have not taken a vacation in years and you truly love your customers and your team.
Now, some Nasty Ned has posted a snarky review—that isn’t even true—on your company’s Facebook page and you are understandably frustrated, and wondering how best to handle it.
Here’s the thing: for hard-working business owners like you, social media is a double-edged sword. It is an amazing way to get the word out about your company and it’s wonderful to see the positive comments from happy customers. But when the negative reviews pop up, it can really throw you a curve ball.
In order to handle these difficult conversations on social media, consider the following tips:
Grit Your Teeth and Respond Quickly
Social media has created an instant culture that includes people believing that they need and deserve immediate responses to everything. So if and when you see a nasty comment on one of your social media pages, you should reply to it as soon as you can—definitely within a day or less. Now, you don’t necessarily have to have the perfect solution ironed out in that first reply; you can take a bit more time to do that. What this first reply should do is let the customer know that she has been heard, that her opinion matters to you, and that you will work on addressing the issue. Then, depending on what the person is saying, you can continue to fix the situation either on the page or through a phone call or instant messaging.
Take the Rumor Bull By the Horns
If you see that people are posting rumors about your company on social media, you might be tempted to ignore these lies, knowing that your satisfied customers will realize the truth. While this is an understandable reaction, you are probably better off trying to educate the public on the truth about your business. For instance, if someone questions whether your company pays minimum wage or not, you might consider posting about the minimum wage laws and rates in your state, and how you are proud to offer a solid wage to your valued employees.
One company that has handled this type of thing quite well is Amway. After realizing that some people were wondering if Amway is a scam or not, the company posted an in-depth article that addresses these rumors and explains why they are incorrect, as well as how Amway truly works.
Avoid Being Confrontational
You want to defend your business like a parent would want to defend his child. But instead of going all Papa Bear on the naysayers on social media, try to avoid sounding too confrontational. A good way to do this is to avoid using “You” statements, like “You don’t understand the situation” or “You don’t have your facts straight.” Instead, stick with “I” statements, like “I appreciate your feedback and I want to help make things right.” The less your responses sound like you are on the defensive or blaming a customer and the more you come across as trying to understand the problem and wanting to help, the better off you will be.
A Difficult Conversation Can Become a Positive Thing
Despite your best efforts, there will still be crabby customers who post negative comments about your company. If you reply to these posts quickly, respectfully and add some educational posts of your own about your company, it may help turn the negative situation into one that is positive, and inspires others to give your business a try.