Blogging and social media have changed marketing for companies because of their ease, outreach, and low cost.
However, great new marketing techniques come with new marketing downfalls. Before blogging and social media, fans, readers, visitors or customers with negative comments picked up the telephone, emailed, or even wrote a letter. And that’s if they even had time to do so.
Now disgruntled fans, readers, visitors and customers can rock your world in seconds with one simple, public post on your blog. How you handle and react to that negative feedback is very important, because it is out there for the public to see and can affect your brand.
Keep calm and carry on.
As soon as you know about a less than pleasant remark from a reader, the first thing you want to do is take a deep breath. It’s human instinct and completely normal to get defensive and react negatively, but keep calm, take a deep breath, and think before you respond.
The faster you respond, the better.
This almost becomes a game, because once a reader posts a comment, you can bet other readers will see it. The ball is now in your court. Once readers see the comment, they’ll wait for your response. Addressing the comment quickly will show your upset reader, as well as other readers, you are in the game and on the ball.
As much as you want to delete the comment, don’t.
View the situation as you would a child who got caught taking something that doesn’t belong to him. When you approach the child, the first thing he’ll do is hide the item behind his back, signifying he knows he did something wrong.
Deleting the comment will only show your unhappy reader and others that you’ve done something wrong. The only exception is if the comment contains curse words or other offensive language. If that is the case, take a screen shot of the comment and file it away for reference in case anything else progresses.
Do not apologize.
This may puzzle you, but one of the most important rules in any industry or business is to never admit you did something wrong. Though there are obviously certain cases where you need to apologize, you should only do so when absolutely necessary.
Typically, negative comments come from unhappy readers who aren’t satisfied with a lot of things in life. Avoid saying, “I am sorry,” and use phrases like “I understand,” “I want to remedy this situation,” “I’d love to discuss this with you,” etc.
Take the commenter offline.
Once you quickly address the negative comment with “I’d love to discuss this situation with you more,” direct the commenter offline. You want the negative exchange and address the problem offline.
Ask the reader to message you with his email address and/or phone number so you can discuss everything. This shouldn’t be too hard because most readers are happy to speak with you offline.
Treat the negative comment like you would any other.
Treat the comment as if the person said it to your face. Just because the comment is on your blog or Facebook doesn’t mean you treat and resolve it any other way. Nothing changes.
Don’t take it personally.
One thing you have to learn when you put yourself out there online is that you won’t always please everyone. As much as you want to make everyone happy, you can’t all the time. Notice that for every negative comment you get, you probably have at least five positive ones. Don’t take the comment personally. Learn from it and move on.
No one is perfect, and in a world where social media and blogs rule, we are bound to run into a few unhappy people. The only difference is that negative comments or reviews today are public—not private. Handling negative comments correctly will speak volumes about your work ethic.
Hannah Howard, regularly writes Longhorn Leads, where a version of this article originally appeared.