Is it me or are people using their social media posts to vent, complain, and in some cases, bully other people?
Just recently we have seen Twitter temporarily ban Donald Trump for violating the company’s policy on hateful speech. Some of the biggest brands are threatening to boycott Facebook over its handling of hate speech, and many more brands are thinking of pausing all social media advertising for similar reasons.
What’s happening on Facebook?
Facebook is the ideal platform for businesses to engage with their customers and target their audience, but not all interactions are pleasant. I have firsthand experience of where Facebook has been used to complain about a business, rather than dealing face-to-face with the issue.
This particular post was from a customer who had a bad experience at their hairdresser. Instead of addressing the problem at the time to the hairdresser, she posted derogative posts on another Facebook page. This led to negative posts from other people, which she copied and pasted to the hairdresser’s Facebook page. The hairdresser responded appropriately, acknowledging the customer’s complaint, informing her that they had a 7-day guarantee and that they pride themselves on addressing customer complaints.
Let’s bring back kindness to social media posts
The point is that these negative posts were unnecessary and very unkind. It’s unlikely that this customer would have spoken in the same way to the hairdresser, in fact, she didn’t! Instead of talking to the hairdresser, this customer chose to vent online. Maybe we tend to forget that business owners are people with feelings? They get up every day, go to work, and do their best to help people. They don’t deserve to be bullied or harassed at work, even if some people say that because you’re a business you should toughen up!
How do we deal with negative feedback on Facebook?
When customers, visitors, or Facebook followers make negative comments or raise specific issues online, you can try to use this to your advantage. Negative feedback is a great way to iron out any problems with your products or services and to make your business even better.
When legitimate criticisms are addressed openly, tactfully, and in a timely manner, you may even turn an unhappy camper into a loyal customer. You will also show everyone that you are proud of your business and that you are more than happy to take on-board people’s suggestions for improvements.
I am sure you can appreciate that it is important to answer any negative comments on Facebook so that everyone can see that you are not hiding away and ignoring their opinions. Hoping that negative comments will just go away will not help anyone, least of all the standing of your business in the community.
A thoughtful and dignified response illustrates respect and understanding of your customer’s concerns and shows that you are happy to rectify any problems. You welcome their negative comments because it allows you to improve your products or services.
One great example of turning a negative comment into an asset is this sign a café owner created to leverage a negative comment and turn it into an opportunity. The café owner was so confident in his products that he took a big risk, even knowing that his salads were fabulous – and used the negative feedback to drum up even more business!
Unfortunately, it’s a fact of life that sometimes the comments will not just be negative, but unreasonable and all you can do is to respond helpfully to address their concerns. You can’t delete these comments, but if you feel that they go beyond the pale and might harm your business, you can report them to Facebook.
Be kinder on social media
If everyone thought before they posted, the Internet would be a much kinder place. Would you say what you just posted to their face? So why post it? Why not take a deep breath and find another way to deal with the problem? If this requires you to speak to the person face-to-face, then do so. After all, there’s enough negativity, turmoil, and tragedy in the world, why do you want to make it any worse? Why not make the world a better place by spreading kindness online? If you can’t do that, maybe you shouldn’t be posting.
Written by our contributor Tina Litte, Owner/Director of My Virtual Assistant. Tina has over 20 years of experience as a Personal Assistant and Secretary in many different industries. She has worked in both the private and public sectors, including marketing and communications, unions, finance, and infrastructure. Tina offers support to businesses with all of those time-consuming administration tasks associated with running a business, whether it be planning a seminar, creating spreadsheets, social media management, e-newsletter creation, tidying up Word documents, or taking minutes of a meeting. Learn more about Tina at www.myvirtualassistant.com.au. Become our contributor too! Apply here.
Read more from Tina Litte: Taking The Plunge: From Corporate Employee To Small Business Owner