According to eMarketer, of businesses in the United States with a minimum of 100 employees, 87 percent utilized social media marketing within the last year. While that is certainly a large number, clearly not all businesses are taking advantage of the benefits offered by social media marketing. Many businesses that are not putting social media marketing to work for them may be holding back because they do not want negative feedback or comments. Unfortunately, just because a business does not utilize social media does not mean consumers are remaining silent. With sites such as Yelp, it is incredibly easy for consumers to discuss and review your brand, even if you are not using social media marketing on your own.
Since you cannot avoid the potential for negative feedback, it is imperative that you understand how to respond to it. The social media training firm Social Media Marketing University found that less than 50 percent of marketing professionals had developed an effective plan for handling negative social media feedback.
The first and most important rule of handling negative feedback on social media is to acknowledge and respond. Ignoring negative feedback does not make it go away. The worst action that you can take, other than to simply ignore it, is to delete it. You should only delete negative feedback in certain circumstances, such as when it involves lewd comments or inappropriate language. As tempting as it can be to handle negative feedback by deleting it, the truth of the matter is that it is already out there, and you can be certain that someone has seen it. Furthermore, the person who originally wrote the comment will see that it has been deleted, and nothing will prevent him or her from posting another, even more irate comment. Any chance that you have of rectifying the situation and preventing it from becoming exacerbated is gone forever.
What exactly is on the line by taking the time to respond to negative feedback? A study conducted by The Retail Consumer Report found that 68 percent of consumers who posted negative feedback received a response from the relevant business. Of that number, 18 percent of consumers who posted negative feedback were converted into loyal customers and 33 percent eventually posted positive feedback.