How Businesses Should Respond to Negative Social Media Posts

How Businesses Should Respond to Negative Social Media Posts

There is no question that businesses – whether large or small – benefit from social media engagement. With over 70% of adults in the United States using Facebook, nearly 50% using Instagram, and an astounding 83% using YouTube, the importance and prevalence of social media to the populace is indisputable. These figures gain even more importance to businesses when considering that 66% of all Facebook users review a local business page at least once a week and that, for the majority of young people (ages 16-24 years old), social media is their primary source of brand research.

This confirms the need for businesses to have a solid social media management strategy – especially one that includes best practices on how to respond to negative reviews or comments. Here are some points to consider as you analyze response strategies as part of your business reputation management.

Benefits of Social Media Engagement

By creating and maintaining a social media presence for your business, you can increase traffic to your business’s website, generate leads for new business, increase exposure and awareness, provide valuable and timely updates about your business, engage with your customers and the public, and promote causes or initiatives important to your business and community. 

Whether you’re creating a Facebook Business Page, an Instagram account, or a Twitter account, leveraging the power of social media can help you grow your business and show the public what makes you unique and sets you apart from your competitors.

Person leaving a 5 star review on mobile device

The Negative Side of Social Media Attention

However, social media attention is not always positive. Regardless of whether you avail yourself of the benefits social media has to offer, anyone with a complaint to air and an internet connection can seriously impact your business’s reputation through the publication of negative content about you or your employees on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or even TikTok. Even if you have not, for example, claimed your Facebook business page or created an Instagram for your company, anyone can do this and claim themselves as the “official” account or owner. If this is done with ill intent, there’s a possibility for customers to assume the negative content is coming from your business, and in turn, harm your online reputation.

While the unfavorable content may be the customer’s honest (and legally protected) opinion about your services or products, these attacks can come in the form of posts sharing false information about you, your business, or your employees. These posts can be published by unscrupulous competitors, disgruntled ex-employees, or individuals who have a problem with you or your employees for entirely personal reasons.

Based upon Buckingham, Doolittle & Burroughs’ experience, statements published to social media will be believed by the public (or at least a significant portion thereof), regardless of whether the statements made are true. Even if you immediately issue a well-thought out and appropriate response, there will still be some people who believe the initial, negative comment. If the poster has a large social media presence and their posts or comments are “liked”, shared, or spread in another fashion – either on the primary platform or to other Internet locations – your business is placed at a serious disadvantage.

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