Managing Brand Negativity on Your Social Networks

Social media is a very powerful marketing tool, but the conversational nature of social networks can make it difficult for organizations to maintain control of their brand. If your organization has profiles on social networking sites, be prepared to receive both positive and negative feedback from consumers. While social networking sites can open your organization to criticism, they also serve as very effective vehicles for managing customer complaints and improving your brand’s reputation in the process.

If someone has posted negative comments about your organization on one of your social profiles, take proactive steps to address and defuse the situation. Have a social media response plan in place so that anyone managing your profile is empowered to respond promptly and appropriately.

A good social media response plan should include protocols for interacting with consumers whether they’re complaining, attacking, or providing constructive criticism. If your organization has a customer service team, work with them to craft some stock responses.

While it’s helpful to have stock responses in place, your team should feel free to personalize the messages so that they’re more authentic. Oftentimes, angry or disappointed consumers just want to know that their complaints have been understood and acknowledged.

Most social networks offer ways for brands and consumers to interact privately, which is especially important if a consumer needs to share personal information in order to have his or her problem resolved. Acknowledge the consumer’s question or complaint publicly so that other fans and followers can see that it was addressed, then invite the consumer to send a direct message on Twitter or a private message on Facebook.

When a consumer posts constructive criticism, thank the person who posted it. Publicly acknowledging feedback shows that you are open-minded and care about what the community has to say. On the other hand, users who post personal attacks, obscenities, unfounded accusations, or spam should either be deleted or blocked from the page.

Social media lets you shape your organization’s public persona. Your reaction to negative feedback is an opportunity to showcase your good customer service and your dedication to consumers. For this reason, it’s also important to respond to positive feedback. By acknowledging and thanking your vocal advocates, you can improve engagement and boost brand loyalty.

There are several free or low-cost applications that can help you monitor mentions of your organization and keep track of conversations. Consider using basic community management software, like Hootsuite, Tweet Deck, Sprout Social, or Social Mention.

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