What happens in Vegas stays on Facebook

You know the old saying, “Any publicity is good publicity,” right?  That any publicity that generates conversation about your brand – is good for you?  Not so much.

With the online revolution, every day you are getting publicity about your products, services and brand. People are talking about you. And I hope you are getting involved in the conversation. Commenting on people’s reviews about your business, thanking them for their tweets, and acknowledging their complaints is essential.  But (there is always a ‘but’), you do need to be aware that as a business – you need to watch what you say. Once your statement is out there – it can be re-tweeted, shared, emailed and posted around within seconds.

As someone (I can’t remember who) put it so eloquently, “people cannot be upset when their comments get re-posted in a negative light on Facebook as you are publishing into an open forum. “

A perfect example of this in the recent media is the ‘GASP Vs Shopper’ debacle. A Melbourne woman shopping on Chapel Street had herself, her figure and her friends insulted when shopping for an outfit for her hens night. GASP reacted terribly (in an email) and told her that she was an ‘undesirable customer’. A media frenzy has happened and it’s gone global. This is the perfect example of a PR nightmare.

Click here to see email exchange in full between Keara O’Neil and and Gasp area manager Matthew Chidgey, released by the Herald Sun.

If you have a problem with a product or service that your are getting bad publicity from – how you respond is SO important. You either have a problem that is beyond your control (or you’re unable to fix) and the best way to deal with this is to man up and deal with it or you have a problem that can be leveraged into a more positive light with some good copy writing and a spin on perspective.

The reason for this blog, is to remind people that Social Media – while amazing – is an open forum.

Handling negative feedback

The important thing to realise is that criticism happens whether you are involved in the community or just a spectator. The only way to have any degree of control is to be part of that conversation so that you can turn the negative perception into a positive awareness. And remember feedback whether positive or negative is great feedback.

Below are some quick tips on handling negative feedback

  • Stay calm. Don’t let your emotions get the better of you.
  • Don’t underestimate the power of the response.Always acknowledge the statement made by the customer/member.
    • Examples include: thanks for your feedback, you raise a great point, we’re glad you let us know; we value your time; we understand why you might feel annoyed; we acknowledge your feel passionate about this issue. Try to follow up those types of messages with some helpful information about how they can resolve their issue (even if it’s just a formal channel where they can email their comment to) wherever possible. Messages like ‘we appreciate your honesty’ can be quite powerful in the face of a negative comment.
  • Be yourself. Be sure you let your community know that there is a human behind the platform.
  • Remember that you are under the magnifying glass. Once your message is out there, you can’t really take it back. Someone has probably copied and ‘retweeted’ it already!

” Don’t say anything online that you wouldn’t want plastered on a billboard with your face on it.” – Erin Bury, Sprouter

Have you got any tips on how to handle negative feedback on Social Media?

Image credit Facebook on Wikimedia