How to Avoid Nuclear War on Social Media

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Photo credit: @joeyslomo

 

One of social media’s biggest benefits is that you can interact directly with your audience.  However, this opens the door to trolls and other kinds of negativity.  If you’ve ever been to a party with a guestlist the size of Facebook’s – you would know that not everyone likes your choice of punch.

When you’re trying to grow your business on social, dealing with negative reviews or inappropriate comments can come with the territory.  Tip number one is to avoid using the terms “fire” or “fury”.   Here are a few ways to diffuse a negative situation on social media.

 

Have a Plan

Dealing with a disgruntled customer online can be tricky, but most of the time they just want a solution to their problem. Other times it’s not so simple.  Make sure to always have a plan for both instances so that you don’t find yourself stuck or, worse, further in the rubble.  It’s likely that you’ve already established the voice of your company on social, but keep it in mind when diffusing a situation.

The first thing you should do is decide if you will respond directly to someone’s comment or move the conversation to a private message. Whichever action you take will depend on the situation and social media platform. For example, comments can get lost on Instagram so moving important conversations to a direct message is usually a good idea.

If you are dealing with personal or sensitive information, the conversation should always be dealt with in a direct message.   If you have a chance to redeem your product or service, however,it will benefit both of you to be open-minded during the interaction. Be consistent and make sure that any employees with access to your social media are aware of the protocol.

 

Be Proactive

A lot of businesses are tempted to only respond to positive comments on social media.  This is a big mistake. It gives power to the comments left unanswered.  It’s important to respond swiftly and acknowledge that you have seen the comment. This allows your followers to see that you will be tending to the issue whether it be on or offline.  If a customer is taking the time to explain an issue on your social media platforms, it’s likely that they’re looking for a solution as opposed to just complaining.  Don’t be afraid to engage with them. It will make your company seem more human and open to correcting mistakes.

 

Stay Above the Fray

When it comes to review platforms like Yelp, where people’s words can make or break your company, it’s tempting to push back if a comment is disparaging. The key is to tailor your response to the situation, a clear understanding of the issue, then provide a professional solution.  Don’t get pulled into negative or inappropriate language.  If you run into a situation that cannot be resolved or involves someone trolling, use your discretion and delete the comment as you see fit.  

 

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Ilia is a Content Editor at KWSM with extensive experience in print journalism. She is bilingual and loves creating content in both English and Spanish. Her favorite social media channel is Instagram.