How to get a Handle on your social media status.
Go to the top of the class with the latest protocols on leveraging social media in today’s digital milieu – including how to handle negative comments on Facebook and how to optimise your presence in the Twittersphere.
The power of FaceBook is undeniable. The snowball effect of Facebook likes, shares and comments can take your practice to the forefront of consumer consciousness and, with this, to extraordinary levels of success. But what happens when the social response is negative?
According to digital journalist and owner of V Creative Enterprises Vivian Wagner, as written in her article on the American Express Open Forum, there are five ways to handle negative online comments. Here are her tips to social media troubleshooting:
1 Respond appropriately
Reading a negative comment about your business, your employees, or your products or services can make you want to justify yourself and claim that the commenter is just plain wrong, misinformed or simply off-the-mark. While these are natural reactions, they won’t help your brand or your social media presence.
Whatever you do, don’t say that the problem is a result of something the commenter has done, even if you think that’s true. Also don’t blame the commenter for a false or misleading comment. Never take a comment personally and write something emotional or accusatory in return. Instead, pay attention to what’s been said, then respond in a balanced, appropriate and professional way.
The goal is to take the conversation offline and out of the public eye.
2 Keep it brief
You don’t want to reveal too much in your response to a negative comment. Social media is a public space, and airing dirty laundry isn’t going to help your business or your customers. Try a simple “We’re sorry you’ve had this experience. Please call our customer service line if you’d like to talk about the specifics of your situation.” In some cases, revealing too much can have serious consequences, particularly with personal or medical information. Keeping it brief will help avoid problems down the line, and it will also encourage the customer to contact you directly to resolve the problem.
3 Look to comments as a form of free research
The comments you receive on social media are a kind of consumer research, and it can help both you and your business to look at them this way. Keep a record of comments as you respond to them, and make a note of any suggestions, tips, questions or problems people mention. After all, your customers might be giving you some valuable information that you’d normally have to dig to receive.
Yes, it’s hard to look at negative comments in this light when you’re in the midst of trying to think up judicious responses to them, but this perspective will help you to see the value in what can otherwise be a maddening part of maintaining a social media presence.
4 Remember, your responses can be seen by everyone
Probably the most important reason to respond to comments—both negative and positive—is that everyone else is reading them. Although many people won’t comment themselves, they’ll read the comments of others, and they’ll pay close attention to how your business responds.
Responding to negative comments is a chance for you to demonstrate how caring, thoughtful and engaged your business is, and how it solves potential problems. If you show that your business listens to and responds to feedback in an appropriate manner, you’re creating a sense of trust that will go far beyond the particular commenter you’re dealing with at any given moment.
5 Hire someone to manage your social media
To really get the most out of social media, you might consider hiring a social media manager to stay on top of interacting with the public.
If you do go this route, make sure to set a clear, consistent policy about commenting and responding to comments, so your social media person is on the same page as you.
Having someone to manage your social media presence is perhaps one of the best ways to keep negative comments from ruining your day. Just make sure to check in now and then to see what comments are being made and what helpful information they’re revealing.
If you’re not chiming in, when relevant, to customer feedback online, you could be hurting your business’s image. It’s time to get involved and speak up.
Boost your Twitter following
￼￼￼￼Researchers at Georgia Institute of Technology examined 500,000 tweets, from 500 Twitter users, over 15 months to find the formula for building a Twitter following. “We looked at how they built their network over time and what was important to building that network,” says research author and scientist at Georgia Tech. C.J. Hutto.
Here are their top tips for making the most of the twitter sphere.
1. Don’t just talk about yourself
Twitter users aren’t concerned with what you had for breakfast. Keep yourself out of it and opt for tweeting interesting links or educational facts to keep your twitter followers happy.
2. Engage with others
Tweets that contain @ symbols engage other members of the Twitter community, and are likelier to boost your group of followers
3. Stay positive
“It’s like your mother told you: If you don’t have something nice to say, you shouldn’t say anything,” Hutto notes.
4. Tell the world exactly who you are
“You get a boost in followers from filling out all aspects of your user profile, with a longer description, a profile picture, and a location,” Hutto says. “It shows you’re a real person.”
5. Tweet often, but not in bursts
“It’s all about being visible,” Hutto says. That translates to an optimum frequency of eight tweets per hour, the research showed.
6. Use hashtags, but sparingly
“They’re a good way to put what you’re saying into context,” Hutto says. “But if you use more than one in a tweet, hashtags become annoying. If your tweet looks like a jumbled mess, people are less likely to stay followers.”
7. Show off your vocabulary
“People rely on linguistic cues like spelling and vocabulary for credibility,” Hutto says. “If you write like a third grader you won’t get as many followers. And you’ll get penalized if you use too many Twitterspeak terms or acronyms.”
8. Follow your followers
The more people you follow, the more will follow you. And if you return the favor by following people who follow you, they’re less likely to unfollow you in the future.
9. Stay on topic
Though not completely proven by the study, the research data suggests that sticking to tweets within a particular topic area will help you build followers more quickly than if you tweet about a broad range of subjects.