How To Respond To Negative Social Media About Your Business
contributed by Catherine Wilson
When you’re operating a business—an eBook store, for example—you’ll please all of the people some of the time and some of the people all of the time. But you’ll never please all of the people all of the time.
In times such as those, what you do afterwards will determine how widespread the problem becomes. Here’s how to respond to negative social media about your eBook store to keep the problem as small as possible.
1. Don’t Ignore It.
Like bills, taxes, and the funny noise your car has started making, ignoring negative social media won’t make it go away. You have to take control of the situation; otherwise your eBook business could suffer. After all, a store is only as good as its reputation.
You can’t afford to leave yours to the whims of anyone with a keyboard and time on their hands. Keep a close eye on your social media feeds and set a Google alert to trigger when any new instance of your name or your store’s name appears on the internet. When you see the comment, take some time to evaluate it and understand both their message and their mindset. Help them solve their problem.
Do not allow your emotions to govern your response. Think it through and devise a positive reply. For example, if they’re having trouble opening a book, offer troubleshooting tips to try to help them.
2. Try to Contact Them Directly.
As part of your positive response in the public forum, ask the individual to reply by PM to work out the issue. You can say something along the lines of:
“Hi Jenny – We too, are dismayed by your experience. Thank you for letting us know about it. We do not consider this to be an acceptable situation at all. How can we get in touch to help you? Please forward your personal email or phone number by PM, and “John” (always use the name of the person with whom they will work) will contact you to get it straightened out today.”
This message accomplishes a number of objectives simultaneously. It acknowledges “Jenny’s” issue, assures her you think her feelings to have merit and tells her you’re not cool with what happened. It also moves the conversation out of public view. And, because it’s a personalized response, she can see you consider her concern important.
3. Know When to Block. (And the ‘when’ is rare.)
Sometimes you’ll run into a ‘troll’—someone online that is purposely trying to create negativity, start arguments, or otherwise cause problems.
This person is more interested in drawing a negative situation (see 6 Critical Thinking Questions For Any Situation) out than trying to reach an amicable solution—no matter what you do. If the harassment (because that’s what it will have become at this point) continues after a few rounds of making nice and trying to take the conversation offline, your only option is to block them and delete the exchange.
Remember, selling eBooks is your ultimate goal and others are always watching to see how you respond. Whatever you do, keep it respectful and cordial. Attentive readers will recognize your efforts to resolve the situation positively.
Once the person is blocked, they will be unlikely to take things further.
4. Show Personality and Humor. Be Human.
There are two schools of thought when it comes to using humor to resolve a conflict in business. On the one hand, a bit of self-deprecation will generally make people see your human side. Just make sure your joke is with them as opposed to being on them.
On the other hand, if you’re dealing with someone who is being negative just for the sake of being negative, introducing humor could provide an opening to attack you with more virulence. You’ll have to evaluate the situation to make the best decision in this regard.
Above all, whenever you’re pondering how to respond to negative social media about your eBook store, do not disparage the negative poster—regardless of how ugly their statements become. It’s always better to err on the side of civility.
If you wallow in the mud, you’ll come out looking like a pig, too.