Social media networks are forums where people interact, both on a personal level and professionally/for business. The exchanges are supposed to be civil, polite, friendly and helpful. In reality, there are all sorts of people who can and will get on your company pages to leave negative social media comments.
And you should have a clear policy of how to deal with them. Even though B2B company pages, like those for a plastic fabrication company, get fewer visits from the general public than B2C company pages, you will find negative comments on your posts.
What Kind of Negative Social Media Comments Are You Likely to Encounter?
These negative comments fall under different categories. First of all, there are genuine complaints from clients. Maybe one of your clients has been trying to place an urgent order and did not get a reply to their email or could not reach your business by phone, for instance.
There are also negative comments left by people who do not understand that you are not producing and selling plastic products to individual consumers. Last, but not least, there are vicious and abusive comments left by trolls. These are people who enjoy stirring up online fights or simply being unpleasant to others.
So, how do you deal with negative social media comments?
1. Set Abusive Language Filters Wherever You Can
You can prevent many negative comments from trolls to appear on your Facebook page, for instance, by setting a filter for abusive language. In your Settings panel, under the General tab, you will find the “Post moderation” option. Add the most common abusive or insulting words there and any comment containing one of them will not be posted on your page.
Hopefully, more social media networks will add this option in the future to make your work easier.
2. Do Not Delete Negative Comments
You cannot make anything go away from the internet. For one, someone may have made a print screen of your page with the negative comment and will share it in order to prove that you try to eschew answering.
Secondly, an unhappy client will become even angrier if they see that you ignore their complaint, rather than deal with it. If B2C companies may afford to lose one client, B2B companies do not have this luxury.
3. Decide Whether You Should Answer In Public on In Private
Depending on the sensitivity of the complaint, you may want to contact the person who left a negative comment via private messaging. This is especially the case when you have to discuss confidential contractual aspects. For instance, when a client complains about a deadline for delivering an order, this is not something to discuss in public, since you have to quote contractual clauses.
However, in all the cases, you should leave a public reply to the comment, as well. For instance, you can have a standard reply saying that your company will contact the person immediately by private chat. This reassures all the other followers that you are doing something about the complaint.
4. Do Not Attempt to Win Arguments on the Social Media
Debates, litigations and misunderstanding are dealt with in person, not online. Maybe a complaint escalates and you cannot satisfy the customer with the solution you proposed in an online chat.
This is the moment to notify your superiors and apply the contractual solutions for litigations. Under no circumstances should you continue a public exchange of comments with the unhappy customer, putting a dent in your brand image.
5. Create a Specific Channel for Complaints
There are ways to reduce the number of negative social media comments on your main company pages. Many B2B and B2C companies use Twitter as a sort of customer relations and complaints channel.
They create specific user names (called handles), usually consisting of their company name followed by “support” or “help”. Customers who need a quick answer to their problems can use this channel to send in their questions and complaints. And thus, the Facebook and LinkedIn pages will be free of such comments.