Back in 2013 I read a story about a local business coming under fire from actions and words captured on camera for a reality TV show. While it is true you can’t always trust what you see on TV, these days marketing is not just about how you view your own business and tell your story; it is how others view you and your business as well.
Mind your social media manners!
The article described some of the actions and intense (verbiage of the business owners caught on camera. The story does not end here; this business’ Facebook Page had many, many negative comments about what was viewed on this show. Again, at this point, it doesn’t matter what the intentions of the business were at the time of the taping, because public perception had taken over. What does matter are these two important details:
- Right or wrong, viewers left negative comments on their social media pages, including Facebook and Yelp!.
- Right or wrong, the owners responded very negatively, nearly abusively.
Some people live to argue with others. Some can’t stand being wrong about anything. Still some see our social media avatars (those little pictures next to our online name) as just that — pictures — and don’t care that these represent real people with real feelings.
If you were the business owner, how would you have responded to all this negative feedback on your Facebook and other social media pages? How should you have responded?
- Don’t argue points. Arguing can be seen as not just a debatable posture, but also as a highly defensive one. Instead, take a proactive stance and write a statement that not only reflects your professionalism, but also lets customers and viewers know you are reviewing all statements and actions and will respond accordingly after all facts/evidence are gathered. Sincerely and politely thank posters for their comments and feedback.
- STOP YELLING! For nearly 20 years, writing anything (i.e., email, blog, social media post, etc.) is viewed as “yelling”. It is a strong statement of your opinion, yes, but can be seen as very combative and negative. Make your point known without using this crutch.
- Don’t swear! Using swear words “because everybody does it” is not only a myth, it’s an excuse and a huge turn-off for potential clients. You will endanger your reputation being viewed as highly negative, combative, and very unprofessional.
- Stop over-defending your position. Some people just like to get a rise out of people. Some just like to “hear” (ok, read) their own voice. Don’t give in and argue — as I stated in #1, it’s pointless. Stay true, stay professional to your voice on your social media pages.
- No name-calling. This isn’t second grade. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, right or wrong, but don’t give in by responding to the commenter in kind. This is viewed as unprofessional, and it can also damage your reputation.
You have the right to respond to negative comments on social media, and you should. Never leave a negative comment unanswered.
- Allow common sense to be your guide when responding.
- Count to 10 before writing.
- Walk away entirely from the negative bashing. Breathe in and out, very slowly. Then, begin writing your response.
- After you have written your response, don’t post! Save and walk away for at least 2 hours. Think about what you have written before publishing. Once you publish, you can’t take it back. And, if you do publish and then have second (or third) thoughts, own the mistake, apologize as appropriate, and move on.
Try to view the negative feedback as instructional. If you didn’t know what was wrong before, you certainly do now! Take appropriate, purposeful steps to correct both the error(s) and public perception. You attract more flies with honey than a fly swatter.
Mind your social media manners.
Be strategic. Be visible. Be found.