Identify the type of negativity . There are different types of criticism a company receives through social media. Each type calls for a different kind of response. Straightforward criticism will alert you to a valid problem you may be able to correct and subsequently report in the same channels you’ve addressed the issue. Constructive criticism offers a suggestion that may or may not be implemented, but gives you vital feedback on customers’ feelings.
Criticism often comes from trollers and spammers. Trollers have no valid reason for negative comments. Spammers are those who criticize your company with the intention of using the digs to promote a competitive company.
Use a matching response. Tailor your response to the type of negative feedback received. For example, if negative social-media postings have alerted you to a real company issue, you can turn lemons to lemonade by acknowledging the problem existed but has now been fixed. When dealing with constructive criticism, you again have a tailor-made opportunity to thank the critic and either accept his suggestion or explain why it’s not being adopted. The best response is no response to trollers and spammers.
When things get hot, stay cool. Sometimes, the tone of criticism is very angry. If a legitimate mistake of the company has spurred the outraged outburst, it‘s important for the company’s tone to remain calm and objective, and convey interest in resolving the problem. Respond with thanks for the feedback, and assure the irate customer the matter is being addressed.
Use social media to educate. If the criticism rises to the level of a crisis for your company, use social-media messaging to convey your point in as clear and unemotional a way as possible, while remaining true to the core values of your brand. As one social-media expert writes: “Use your social-media channels as an opportunity to educate your employees, stakeholders and target audience.”
Remember that unlike broadcast and print channels, which are one-way streets, social media allows for two-way communication, and it can occasionally be negative. By taking positive steps to respond effectively to negative feedback, your self-storage business can often blunt thorny issues—and even come out smelling like a rose.
Mary Lou Denny is executive vice president of Walt Denny Inc., a full-service public-relations and advertising firm established in 1989. The agency specializes in the home-products arena, Internet marketing and social media. For more information, e-mail email@example.com; visit www.waltdenny.com . Follow the company on Twitter @waltdennyinc, and “like” it at facebook.com/waltdennyinc.