The following article is from the May 3, 2011 edition of http://BizSugar.com, by Shawn Hessinger.
Social media is a two way street allowing your small business to communicate with your network of fans and potential customers and allowing them to talk to you resulting in both positive and sometimes negative feedback.
Whether it is on BizSugar or on another social media channel where your business might participate, how you deal with and react to this feedback can be a critical part of defining your brand or business.
At BizSugar.com, we’ve had our share of good…er…conversations mostly provoking important and meaningful discussions among members of the small business community we serve.
When a member of your community has something they need to get off their chest, whether positive or negative, about you, your product, service or brand, here are some tips that can help you respond in an appropriate manner.
Don’t get upset. Even if comments are occasionally negative, it’s important not to respond emotionally or to take comments personally. Instead, consider what the person making the comment is really saying and why. Focus on how the comment impacts your brand, whether it makes valid points or raises issues you really need to address.
Take it as a compliment. Hey, someone took time out of their busy day to comment on what you have to say. Being ignored is much worse (and much more likely given our busy lives and the number of people and choices online.) So the fact that someone thinks enough of your brand positive or negative to engage means you’re doing something right.
Consider the source. Understand where the person is coming from. Are they making a legitimate comment or critique or trying to get a rise out of you or your community? Provoking an argument by deliberately making controversial and overly critical comments is a well-known technique for trying to drive up followers and gain attention though not one we’d recommend since it can have unforeseen consequences damaging your brand and reputation in the community.
Make changes where necessary. If the criticism is legitimate and something you feel needs to be addressed, make improvements you feel are warranted and move on. Now, we didn’t say make those changes whether you think they’re warranted or not. Be careful not to cave to one or a few critical members of your community just because they are the most vocal and at the expense of everyone else. This can also say negative things about your brand.
Always be courteous. Whether you feel the comment or criticism was valid or not, be sure to always be courteous and thank the person for their feedback. Remember that no matter whether you make changes or not based on comments, criticisms and complaints, feedback is always valuable and can be used to better understand your followers and customer base. It should be the reason you got into social media in the first place.
OK, now it’s your turn. Have a comment or question to share? We’d love to hear from you. Give us your feedback to this article and help us learn more about the BizSugar community and what you think.