There’s no question that businesses — big or small — benefit from social media engagement. With more than 70% of adults in the United States using Facebook, nearly 50% using Instagram, and 83% using YouTube, the importance and prevalence of social media is undisputed. Considering that 66% of all Facebook users check a local business page at least once a week, and considering that social media is a priority for most young people (16-24 years old), these figures become even more important for businesses. Source of brand research.
This underscores the need for businesses to have a strong social media management strategy — especially one that includes best practices on how to respond to negative reviews or comments. Here are some points to consider when analyzing response strategies as part of your brand management.
The benefits of social media engagement
By creating and maintaining a social media presence for your business, you can increase traffic to your business website, generate leads for new business, increase exposure and awareness, provide relevant and timely updates about your business, engage with your customers and the public, and promote causes or initiatives important to your business and community.
Whether you’re creating a Facebook business page, an Instagram account, or a Twitter accountHarnessing the power of social media can help you grow your business and show the public what makes you unique and different from your competitors.
The negative side of social media attention
However, social media attention is not always positive. Regardless of the benefits social media offers, anyone with an air and internet connection posting negative content about you or your employees on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter can seriously damage your business’s reputation. Or even TikTok. Even if, for example, you didn’t claim your Facebook Business Page or create an Instagram for your company, anyone can do so and claim to be the “official” account or owner. If this is done with bad intentions, it will cause customers to assume that the negative content is from your business and in turn, it will damage your online reputation.
While bad content can be a customer’s honest (and legally protected) opinion about your services or products, these attacks can come in the form of posts that share false information about you, your business, or your employees. These posts are made by unpublishable competitors, disgruntled former employees, or individuals who have a problem with you or your employees for purely personal reasons.
Based on the experience of Buckingham, Doolittle, and Burroughs, statements published on social media are believed by the public (or at least a portion of them), even if the statements are true. Even if you immediately come up with a well-thought-out and appropriate response, there will still be some people who believe the first, negative comment. If the poster has a large social media presence and their posts or comments are “liked,” shared, or circulated in some other fashion—on the main forum or to other Internet locations—your business is in serious trouble.