Social media has given everyone a voice. This can be great, used positively to share constructive thoughts and opinions on everything, from personal news to global politics. The downside is that social media has made many people an expert. Everyone is a food critic, for example, and happy to share their opinions on the restaurant they dined in, qualified or not. And the people who don’t know what they’re talking about can often be the loudest people on social media…. Some of their followers will listen and, in turn, some of their followers’ followers.

This blog is our top tips on what to do if someone is making negative comments about you on social media. It was written predominantly with Facebook in mind and people going onto your page to have their tuppence’ worth.

Social Media Management

So what happens when it’s your business that is being unfairly criticised on social media? How do you deal with it publicly? You may want to shout back; after all, it’s going to feel personal. It’s your company! If someone is wrong in their comments about your business, you’re bound to feel aggrieved. But you can’t bite. Or rather – you shouldn’t, not unless you want to spend the following week arguing online with all and sundry. Key 3 Media manages Facebook accounts for lots of businesses (as well as Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn) and the key to protecting our clients from negative criticism is polite acknowledgement, fact-finding then mediation.

It is amazing how many businesses simply ignore a bad review on their Facebook Page. Or don’t thank people when they leave a good review. Madness.

The Social Media Complaint Club

Some criticism is genuine of course and we must accept that. Even the best business in the world, particularly if it is a high volume business, will make mistakes. And if someone criticises you fairly on social media, you have to accept that people will see it. But they will also see how you deal with that review. Again, it comes down to acknowledgement, fact-finding and mediation. No different to an unjust review. You may even be able to turn it around and your critic becomes an advocate. If they feel you have taken their comments seriously, you’re half way there.

We can’t stress this enough – always be courteous in responses. It is hard for someone to stay angry if they are being met with an apologetic and sincere manner. You won’t win them all, unfortunately – some people are simply, well, not nice. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, and social media has given us that freedom. But no one will ever think bad of you for being polite.

A well-mediated complaint may see the customer return in the future. Plus any potential customers will see that you deal with complaints in a professional manner – encouraging them to focus just as much on your reply as the review. If the review is constructive, you apologise, find out what happened and maybe offer them something to win back their custom.

If the review is unfair, you politely state the facts and offer to speak to them on the phone to address their points. And then you leave it. Don’t get drawn into a battle that you’ll never win. Unreasonable people are called “unreasonable” for, er, a reason. A quick look through the person’s timeline will show you what kind of a person they are (for starters, they won’t have restricted access to their profile). Over the years, our team has got very adept as differentiating between the genuine and the troublemakers.

Use the person’s name too. It shows you are being personal, that you care.

Malicious Social Media Reviews

What happens if it’s more than a complaint? If it is in fact malicious? An ex-employee perhaps or somebody with a personal vendetta towards your company. These things happen. Personal attacks are easy to make from behind a computer or mobile. “Keyboard tough guys”, we call them!

Our clients are confident that we have their back when it comes to social media attacks. Reviews have to be dealt with promptly; out of office hours shouldn’t be an issue. There is no point someone posting malicious comments about you online on Friday night and you don’t find out till Monday. A lot of further damage could have been done over the weekend. Key 3 Media has to work around the clock. Full, professional social media management. Having the Facebook Pages Manager app on our phones is a must.

How do you respond to a malicious comment or review? Getting the person blocked and / or reporting them to the social media channel are options. Facebook Reviews can be tricky as you can’t block someone for leaving a review, only if they comment on your page. In that case, you have to report the review as malicious and hopefully Facebook will remove it.

Comments on Facebook can also be hidden, which may be the preferable option if someone just makes a stupid comment. Not worth blocking them forever, just hiding it so only the person who wrote the comment and their friends can see it. Not the world and his wife.

There’s a big difference between a social media “guru”, who posts a few times a week, and a social media manager. To us, protecting a client is just as important as promoting them. And that’s being on guard 24/7.