How to Handle Negativity on Social Media, and Use it to Your Advantage!
It happens. A negative comment, maybe even a nasty rant, posted on one of your social media pages. It can be acutely embarrassing, especially for dealerships proud of their products and service. But no business is perfect. We all make mistakes. Have a bad day. It’s how you handle negativity on social media that matters.
Accentuate the positive.
How do negative comments make you feel? Do you wince? Get mad and defensive?
Tempting as it might be, if you’re negative in return, what does that say about you? About your dealership? Nothing good. So bite your tongue. Cool off. Think about how do you want to be treated when you’re unhappy. Then be polite, understanding, appreciative of their past support. The mere fact you show you’re listening and anxious to resolve their problem can make your reputation soar. You do care.
Commiserate – “we try never to do that,” “we’re so sorry that happened,” “how can we fix it?” — even if it’s not your fault. If it’s a product problem your dealership can’t fix, pass it along to your OEM. And follow up, to make sure they’re following up.
Post a second follow-up comment to the original negative message, noting you’re glad you were able to rectify the problem, or even how you changed your policies or processes as a result.
Don’t just blow it off.
Ignoring negativity on social media is even more rude than ignoring someone in person. It will only make them more upset — more likely to post additional negative comments or reviews. So you have to respond. Happily, a timely, honest reply can disarm even the crabbiest customer, turning them into one of your most ardent supporters.
Your online fans may even jump to your defense before you have a chance to respond. Or they’ll suggest ways your customer can solve their own problem. That spontaneous show of support replaces negativity with a powerful positive, like a glowing third-party testimonial.
Learn from negativity on social media.
Yes, there are times when criticism is just plain unwarranted. But nearly always there’s truth in there somewhere. So no matter how it’s worded, think of it as constructive criticism. Discuss with your staff how you can use the information to improve your dealership. Continuous improvement is one of your overarching goals, right?
You can learn surprisingly valuable things from negative comments, and your positive response will earn the kind of respect that leads to increased sales and loyalty.
Take it offline. Once you’ve posted your original apology via social media, contact the individual personally to follow up further. You’ll get better results, and it’s not really the whole group’s business.
You can ask someone to remove a negative post. But everyone knows negativity on social media happens, and your slew of positive comments will outshine any negative ones. So unless it’s truly unfair, let it stay. On the other hand, you should immediately delete any comment that includes offensive language or personal remarks. Your community doesn’t deserve that any more than your own people do.
And in the worst possible case, you can ban someone from your social media site.
Negativity on social media is a fact of business life. Use those lemons to make lemonade. And don’t forget to respond to positive comments, too. Not every time, but often enough that your online community knows you value their support and enthusiasm. You’ll build up your brand — your reputation as a dealership that people can trust to do the right thing. That’s marketing you can’t pay for.