Downton Abbey - waterbottlegate

Dealing with negative social media

One of the biggest fears people have with putting their businesses on social media is dealing with negative comments. Those that do take the plunge often assume that the best thing to do is to delete negative comments and any mistakes they make themselves.

But social media offers you unique opportunities to turn negative comments into positive coverage – so long as you deal with things quickly and in the right way.

There are a few simple rules you need to follow to make social media your friend.

Don’t lie and pretend you did nothing wrong.

Be honest – if you messed up, don’t try and hide it.

And never take to the offensive like Amy’s Baking Company did in 2011 [NSFW].

If it was a serious issue (something that caused offence or inconvenience), then apologise. Either make a public offer of compensation or take the matter out of the public space and into private messaging, email or telephone.

Next take the issue offline
You can take the issue out of the public space like Next did here

If it wasn’t so serious, you have the chance to take control of your own misfortune and turn it to your advantage…

Tackle it head on.

When it’s serious, that means hold up your hands and say sorry.

When it’s less serious, you can joke about it or even put your own parody. Recently, a publicity shot for Downton Abbey featured a plastic water bottle that had been left on set. Many took to social media to lampoon the error under the #waterbottlegate hashtag. In response, the Downton production team released a parody of their own and used the opportunity to raise awareness for the charity Wateraid.

Downton Abbey's response to Waterbottlegate on social media
The cast of Downton Abbey with their satirical response to “waterbottlegate”

Social media is a customer service channel.

The marketing uses of social media should play second fiddle to it’s role in communication. This means that, first and foremost, it’s a route to communicate your business with current and prospective customers.

When you mess up, you have the chance to address the problem and demonstrate good customer service. Everyone makes mistake and most people are able to forgive – provided the mistake wasn’t too big and your response was good.

Good customer service could be the best marketing tool you ever have.

If you need help with your social media, or even someone to run it for you, contact us now.