When you sign up to manage a client’s social media presence, understanding their business is key to knowing how to respond to comments—especially the negative ones—on their behalf.
Consider the following comment types for example:
1. A well-reasoned critique: A person who has given good reasons for their criticism deserves respect. To respond to this person, you need to know whether that issue is due to an error or due to a wrongly-set expectation. For such cases, having an emergency contact with your client is important and so is knowing what the right expectations are so you can appropriately respond.
You should also know beforehand if the client is okay with giving away a discount or some other perk to mitigate the negative experience.
It could even be as simple as connecting the commenter with the client’s customer service and letting them take it further.
2. Someone extolling a competing product: You need to know about the client’s product and service, and of their competitors beforehand so you can determine the right response here.
If it’s a missing feature the client is going to add soon, you could indicate that. If it is a feature the client can’t add because they’re a smaller company with limited funds, you could say you’re focusing on a core set of features and that hopefully when you grow you’ll add more capabilities. If the feature is not a part of your client’s vision, you could explain the vision.
Lastly, if it is about superior service, the client should know this about the competition beforehand and have a response handy — such as what they’re doing to improve or if they go the extra mile in some other aspect of the product or service.
3. A rant based on facts: A good approach here is to apologize for the trouble and provide an option to connect offline. However, while keeping your dirty laundry hidden from the public is okay, there is no excuse for not dealing with it at all.
Establish a handover process with your clients beforehand so that when they deal with the customer, they have all the background information.
Once the issue is resolved, the client should encourage the person to repost about the resolution.
4. A rant with no facts: These are tricky. You don’t know if this is just slander or due to a genuine issue. A good solution is to apologize and provide the option to connect offline. If you make an earnest approach and the commenter is not genuine, they will not respond back. If they respond back with more slander and no real facts, remove the comment.
If it is a genuine concern, all the points for comment type 3 apply.
5. Obvious slander and foul language: Don’t respond and remove the comment.
Do you manage social media for small businesses? If so, please share the things you typically try to learn about them before going to work on their social profiles.
(Image courtesy of Selbe B)