5 steps for handling a social media crisis

The overriding theme is to respond rather than react, of course, but here is a sensible protocol for handling negative comments—whether they’re justified or not.

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We’ve all seen it, and it happens to most every business sooner or later: An unhappy customer lashes out publicly, using their fingers as their voice and social media as their megaphone.

Whether you are new to social media or not, there are a few rules you should always follow if someone “flames” your social media pages with negative comments.

1. Don’t say anything.

At least, not at first. Everyone responds at an emotional level to something at some point, and often you won’t even be aware when it happens. The best thing to do is to keep your mouth shut until you know exactly what you want to say. If you respond as the topic or issue is “blowing up,” your response could be lost in a sea of “trolling,” criticism, and infighting among your followers.

2. Find the real problem.

Sometimes people are just mean, and they express that through their words. More often than not, however, there is an actual issue causing the negativity. Think carefully about what any and all aspects of this issue could be before you offer a response.

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