Often clients will ask me how to handle negative comments on social media. The answer: Embrace them.
Why? Because a negative comment is an opportunity to set the record straight. It also is an opportunity to engage with your customers in a place where they maybe didn't think you were watching.
Throughout my time on the good ol' Twitterverse I've seen multiple instances where brands joined the conversations their customers were having on the platform and upping the "delight" factor.
What's the delight factor? Well, in marketing speak there's an inbound methodology — those of you who use or have heard of the HubSpot tool are probably familiar with this methodology — that aims to for brands to be part of the conversation on a buyer and more human-centric effort. There are four keys that make up the inbound method:
Recently, the power randomly went out in my apartment complex during a rainstorm — for 12 hours. I was not a happy camper. All the food I meal prepped for the week was spoiled. To express my sadness, I tweeted the following:
HelloFresh then came back and asked that I DM them. Within the DM they asked for my email I registered my HelloFresh account with and are now offering me a free box credit. WIN!
Now that's how you delight your audience!
Now Peet's Coffee. They know how to engage their customers, apologize when they're wrong and delight their customers on Twitter. In fact, I love how they respond so much, which is aligned with their brand voice, I model my own responses within StellaPop's social media strategy similar to theirs because it's succinct and impactful.
Peet's knows how to save face and do it with grace. One morning I stopped by my local Peet's to cash in on my free drink reward — this was when their Peetnik app just launched. When I arrived during the morning rush their computer-to-app ratio was all out of whack. It wasn't working and I had to pay for my coffee. Then took to Twitter.
I DM'd them my email address, they emailed me inquiring more about the store it happened at as well as asking for my physical address. And in just a few days, I had a handwritten note from them and a paper coupon for a cup of coffee on them. DELIGHT! To customers, it's the little things that make that bigger impact.
Because conversations are happening online whether or not you're listening and taking part in them.
Hint: You want to take part in them.
There are four things you can do to prepare for the negative comments:
1. Know that it's going to happen... haters gon' hate.
2. Be responsive! Join the conversation by using Twitter's advanced search tool or signing up for a social media listening tool like Mention. It's also important to note that social media scheduling tools like SproutSocial and Hootsuite also allow you to listen as well.
3. Have at least 5 on-brand messages or "scripts" written within your social media strategy. This preparation gives your entire team the opportunity to handle these situations if you're not readily available to respond to them yourself. Also, I say "scripts" loosely because you will have to adjust the message based on the tone of the customer you're responding to. Side note: these responses should align with your company culture's core values and customer service standards. It's all about having a strategy! Do you have one? If not, click here.
4. Write 3 key things you can do to delight your customers. Remember: Delighting your customers is all about being helpful, being human and being honed in on solutions to their problems. Is it giving more of your time? Is it a free cup of coffee? Is it a credit to toward their next subscription box? Is it 50% off their next purchase? You decide, but it better be enough value for your customers so you don't have to do damage control...again. Share these ideas in your next all-hands staff meeting and to see if others have ideas. Next, adopt them within your company policy.
If you have questions or concerns about the negative comments someone is leaving you on your brand's social media channels we're happy to develop a plan to combat them. Please contact StellaPop here and we'll be in touch within 24 hours. If you're thinking you're in crisis communications mode, email us directly to firstname.lastname@example.org.