3 tips for managing customer feedback on social media

Here are some tips to help you handle your social media, even when it takes a turn for the worse.

Keep your cool
If someone is bashing you or your company online, it is easy to get riled up pretty quickly. However, more likely than not, addressing the person sharply will only serve to fan the flames. It is much easier to debunk the claim if you do so openly, evenly and in plain sight. Show your other customers that you take complaints seriously by addressing the point, but don’t do so in a defensive or angry fashion.

Positive reinforcement
There are two common responses to social media criticism, and neither is ideal. The first is to aggressively and harshly counter the assertion. The second is to ignore it altogether. Instead you should aim for the middle road. Don’t be afraid to mention the specific claim, but you should also aim to treat it as just one more opinion in the sea of them that is social media.

Whenever possible, focus on addressing comments that are framed respectfully and earnestly, even if they are negative in nature. Shining an unnecessary spotlight on outright criticism can make those customers of yours who genuinely want to engage with feel unduly punished.

Have a plan
Rather than responding to a social media crisis off the cuff, it is a good idea to have a plan – or several plans – that you can turn to in times of trouble. Not only should this policy address how and when you respond, it should also break down duties for different employees and provide tools for rectifying the issue.

The plan doesn’t need to be particularly in-depth – let alone exhaustive – but it should provide a clear framework for handling the problem effectively. When crafting this document, consult other people in your company or people you know who might have dealt with a similar situation.

How do you handle social media catastrophes? Share your best strategies.

Adam Naide

Adam Naide is Executive Director of Marketing for Social Media at Cox Communications, where he leads overall strategy and execution for all of the company’s social media activities including audience engagement, campaigns, demand creation and retention. Every week, over six million consumers and small businesses engage with Cox Communications on Facebook, Twitter, You Tube, Pinterest, Google Plus, and Linked In. Cox Business connects online with small & mid-size businesses from its small business blog, Cox Blue.

In 2012, Adam was named a “Top Ten Social Media Maven” by Multichannel News and to Cable Fax’s Digital Hot List.

You can follow Adam on Twitter at @adamnaide where he tweets about social media, and his other passion, cereal.

Adam holds a bachelor’s degree from Emory University and an MBA from the University of Georgia.Naide lives in Alpharetta, Ga., with his wife, Karen, and two teenage children.