Your phone buzzes. You look down and see it’s a notification from Facebook. Oh no, did your mom tag you in another #tbt post?!

Luckily for you, this notification is for the Facebook page you manage. A customer wrote on your page’s wall… and it’s not pretty.

Suddenly, a picture of you with a bowl cut and a full mouth of braces being shared with a few hundred Facebook friends doesn’t seem so bad.

But not to worry. We’ve got your back.

Introducing the “LIQUID” method for dealing with negativity on social media. It’s easy as 1, 2, 3… 4, 5, 6!

1. Locate the people who haven’t had a great experience.

The first step to dealing with a negative comment or review is finding it.

A customer may post directly on your Facebook page, tag you in a tweet, or comment on a recent Instagram post of yours. As a result, you’ll receive a notification and can move right on down to Step 2.

But what if they don’t? 96% of the people that discuss brands online don’t follow those brands’ social channels. Now there’s negative sentiment floating around on the internet about you for prospective customers – or even future job applicants – to see. 

If it’s out there, wouldn’t you rather they see your response in conjunction with it?

One of the best methods for finding this stuff is through media monitoring, where you’ll be the first to know about mentions of your company across social channels, forums like Reddit, and on product review sites.

Locate

2. Ignore your urge to disregard or delete the comment.

Whether worded gently or written in all caps with lots of exclamation points, the first thing you’ll probably want to do is figure out how to get the comment or review taken down. 

But as your cursor is hovering over the “Hide comment” option, consider this: Maybe what you have is an opportunity to help a customer have a great experience with your brand (even if it started out as a not so good one). 

Even if it’s something you had no control over, like an issue with a third party or a partner of yours, it’s almost always worth engaging with someone who’s got a complaint.

Ignore

3. Quickly acknowledge the comment or review.

78% of people who complain through Twitter expect a response within an hour. That’s just one channel! 

You may not know what the best course of action is immediately – and that “best course of action,” may mean there’s upwards of 2 or 3 other people or departments that you need to check in with first.

But the more quickly you can acknowledge the negative comment or review, the better. A response that’s synonymous with “We’ve seen your comment or review and we’re working on a resolution.” lets the customer know they’ve been heard – and that you care enough to engage them.

Acknowledge

4. Use your brand’s voice and tone.

Pro Tip: Make sure to carry your brand’s voice and tone through your responses. It’ll benefit you to have some canned responses in your back pocket for this initial engagement until you’re able to tailor a resolution specifically to them and their issue. But don’t forget the fundamentals.

If you wouldn’t describe your brand’s voice and tone as “clinical” or “serious,” then don’t respond that way! While making light of the situation might not land well with the customer, you should still aim to use language and catchphrases similar to those you would use in your regularly scheduled posts… and email marketing and website copy and blog posts! 

Tone

5. Inbox messages are where it’s at.

Step 3 may have gotten you some lead time, but you still need to come up with a resolution. 

Oftentimes, if the issue has to do with an order or requires you to get additional information from the customer, it’s best to “take it offline.” But I don’t mean this in the traditional sense. In this case, on channels such as Facebook or Twitter, I’m talking inbox messages.

The best experience for the customer from here on out will be to keep the conversation on the same channel that they reached out to you on.

Rather than telling the customer to give your call center a ring or email support – something they may have already done, which is why they’re turning to Facebook – do your best to get to the end of the magical customer service rainbow on one channel. It’s most convenient for the customer, and by Steps 3 and 4, it’s all about them! 

Inbox

6. Do something with what you’ve learned.

While you and your coworkers could probably start your own version of Jimmy Kimmel’s Celebrities Read Mean Tweets during your lunch break, there’s a better option.

Even though many of the posts you’ve read may lack the constructiveness you’d like your criticism to have, there’s probably something to learn from the (painfully honest) truth.

Are you identifying any trends in the comments and reviews you’re seeing? And as a result, is there something you can be doing differently to prevent customers from having bad experiences?

Learned

As you’re beginning to plan for 2017, this feedback you’ve begun to accrue is one place to start when it comes to strategy shifts or places to beef up your marketing budget. 

Just remember Liquid!

  1. Locate the people who haven’t had a great experience.
  2. Ignore your urge to disregard or delete the comment.
  3. Quickly acknowledge the comment or review.
  4. Use your brand’s voice and tone.
  5. Inbox messages are where it’s at.
  6. Do something with what you’ve learned.

(And the next time that Facebook notification is actually from your mom, just remember: It’s only because she loves you.)

Looking for some more direction on dealing with negative comments and reviews? Or maybe some help in finding them in the first place? We’ve got your back.

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Emily Massaro

About Emily Massaro

Emily is a Digital Marketing Strategist at Liquid, working with internal teams to build comprehensive digital marketing strategies for our clients. Main areas of focus for Emily include media monitoring, social media strategy, and email marketing. Emily also manages the Digital Marketing Department’s internship program – giving tomorrow’s experts their first taste of agency life.

Published Oct 07, 2016