Negative social media reviews are bad news, indeed. If positive word of mouth is the best way to attract business, negative news could be the killer — especially when social media becomes one of the primary information sources for friends, relatives, and associates of someone who has done (unfortunate) business with you. Worse, the social media negativity can muck up your search engine results — who needs a negative entry at the top of a Google search! — and, to add to the problem, if you only have one or two negative entries, and nothing positive, then the tyranny of the crowd may creep into the picture. Others may join the conversation with their negative reports, out of proportion to clients who are truly happy with your services.
I’ve looked for some observations/sites which answer this question and discovered a few references, including John Sonnhalter’s Tradesman Insights: Do you have a strategy for negative social media posts? and this Slideshare post, which was top on Google search when I queried the topic.
Here are some summary thoughts that may guide you, as well:
You need to keep track of social media posts/reports and activities relating to your business.
Assign someone you trust to be your social media monitor/manager.
Most likely, the right person will be in your office; someone who enjoys and actively engages with social media. the individual should have the ability/authority to respond quickly, expressing concern/understanding, and be able to escalate the matter for management attention without fear of repercussion. As well, your ideal social media manager will be able to make the human-style outbound posts to induce a positive culture/response.
I think the best approach to negative social media combines respect and responsiveness. The basic customer service rules apply. Show empathy, respect, and — most importantly — fix the problem, quickly.
Should you induce positive reviews?
I wish I could give a simple answer here. In theory, if you don’t ask your really happy clients to say they love the way they were served, they may well remain silent. On the other hand, assertively pushing for positive reviews/responses, can set you up for a fall, especially with social media services that monitor and seek to ban what they see as artificial positive review activity. Obviously, don’t even think of posting fake positive reviews (or having friends/family members help you out.) Probably the best approach here is to encourage feedback/observations through a private form and if you receive really positive comments from the clients, then (in moderation) invite them to repeat/share their truly felt observations through the social media services they use.
Do you have your own thoughts on this topic? You can share your observations in a comment or email.