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Rules of (Social) Engagement: Addressing Negative & Positive Social Interactions

OK, so you've taken a dive into the large pool that is social media and identified the best social platforms for your business. Now what’s next? ENGAGEMENT, of course! 

Getting a handle on communicating with your fan base is one of the most important elements of a successful social media strategy. Once you start to engage how do you react to positive or potentially negative comments? The solution is simple. Utilize these key steps when engaging with your audience in the digital space.

Negative Comments:

  1. Never ignore or delete a complaint
  • Refrain from removing a complaint or comment unless it is offensive to other customers. It is better to engage and address the issue head on so other fans see that your brand is engaged with its community. There are always exceptions to this rule so your first step should be to assess the comment. You need to determine if the “fan” is attempting to cause trouble, at which point you should eliminate the comment, or if they are genuinely trying to offer feedback to better improve your product/service, which would warrant a response

2. Keep calm and …

  • Remember to remove emotions from any response. It can be a difficult tactic to implement, but you’ll be glad you remained level-headed further down the road. Many brands make the mistake of responding to negative comments emotionally and regret it later. Take a step back from the situation and discuss your response with the rest of your team. The saying “two heads (or more) are better than one” definitely applies in these situations. (*This is one of the reasons many brands chose an outside agency to manage their social media needs.)

3. Acknowledge the issue

  • Always address a complaint publicly and actively engage to steer the conversation offline via a Direct/Private message. Most of the time fans just want to feel that their concerns are being heard and the brand values their patronage. Referring a complaint to a customer service number or instructing them to send a Direct/Private message are efficient methods to address the matter away from the peering eyes of the public.

4. Stock up!

  • Creating a template of canned replies for frequently asked questions and complaints can help streamline the process of engaging with negative comments.

5. Follow up is key

  • A brand should always follow through with a solution once a complaint is addressed. Leaving the matter unresolved can turn a situation from bad to worse.

Positive comments:

  1. Take action
  • Always acknowledge a positive comment with some form of social action (Like, Comment, Retweet, Share, etc.). There’s nothing more gratifying for a fan than to feel like a brand has singled out their response and engaged with them.

2. Timing is everything

  • For both positive and negative interactions it is imperative to respond in a time sensitive manner. If you wait to reply you can miss out on an opportunity or even have a negative situation escalate. The recommended time of response should be 10minutes to 30 minutes at the latest.

3. Rewards

  • Remember to surprise and delight “super fans” with special offers, codes, gift cards and more to ensure continued brand affinity.

4. Share User Generated Content (UGC)

  • Utilizing UGC can go a long way as a tactic to convert a fan into a brand advocate. It can also provide your product or service that third-party stamp of approval that every consumer longs to see. Customers are more trusting of a review from an actual consumer’s experience, a third-party source, rather than the brand itself.

Now that you have the tools you need to successfully address positive and negative comments go out there and get social!