Social media can be the single best or the only worst thing to happen to your business. If you can create a voice and a brand over social media, you'll be able to reach and communicate with a worldwide audience. There's also a dark side to social media, though: anyone can say anything he or she want. With the way social media works, things can blow up into larger things so that a wrong comment can become a massive scandal very quickly.
Unfortunately, one scathing review on social media can overshadow a hundred positive ones. After all, we are all guilty of reading through bad reviews on Yelp, Amazon, and other sites. That one less than a favorable review can make a difference. Reacting to attacks on social media is somewhere between science and art. You have to be creative and approach it with the right mindset to not make it worse that is already is or could be. Here are a few tips to approach reputation assaults in the world of social media.
A. Stay Calm
Social media may be instant, but you need to remember to take a second before you reply. If you immediately shoot something back full of anger, you are not only sacrificing your professionalism, but you may also say something that you did not mean. Take the time to read whatever someone is saying, and understand the root of the problem. Make sure anything you are saying doesn't come off as attacking someone! If you are not sure about how your reply will be received, have a friend or colleague read through it before pressing ‘enter.'
B. Evaluate the Claim
None of us ever enjoy admitting our mistakes, but we all know nobody is perfect. Sometimes all we have to do is put in some extra work to get it right. Ask yourself a few questions about the review: could this claim have any validity or is it completely unfounded? Could they have found something that you've missed? Make sure you completely educate yourself on the situation before you fire back a response.
C. Formulate a Smart Response
So you've taken your time to read the issue and evaluate -- now it is time to respond. The worst thing you could do is not give a direct response or try to deflect the question. If it is an unfounded claim, don't sound haughty. Let them know that you appreciate their concern, even thank them, and give them the right answer. If there's some truth to their claim, don't be afraid to be wrong. Thank them, apologize, and then give them the right answer. Be straight up: issues become bigger issues when they are not addressed head on. Let them know how much you care about the issue, and put your time into an answer.
Handling reputation assaults on social media is a matter of staying cool, calm, collected, and friendly. If you are upfront, people will respect you and your company. Don't lose yourself in something petty! Don't be afraid of assaults on social media -- be prepared. A negative review is bound to happen, so be ready to reply.
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