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Nine effective ways for brands to manage negative social media comments

by Michael Field from EvettField Partners

Consumers increasingly use the internet to research products before they purchase. In particular, ‘conscious consumers’ - which describes consumers who look beyond the label to learn more about a company's environmental, ethical and social footprint. This guides purchasing decisions which translates to the purchasing power.

Company managements have developed more robust and sophisticated ways to manage and respond to negative social media articles, comments and reviews. Management responds to social media comments on behalf of the brand, by publishing press releases or statements addressing or refuting the negative claims made against them, and asserting their position as an ethical, reliable and trustworthy brand.

In the case of Capilano Honey and its chief executive officer Dr McKee, it would appear that a legal course of action was justified given the intensity, ferocity and volume of negative commentary produced by Shane Dowling and published on his Kangaroo Court of Australia website and promoted across their various social media channels. Today, the Kangaroo Court of Australia Facebook page has 23,437 followers, and their Twitter account has 8,574 followers.

What are 9 effective ways for brands to manage negative social media comments?

Brands and their marketing teams must have adequate systems in place to monitor and respond in real time to negative social media comments effectively.

These are 9 effective ways a brand can manage negative social media comments:

  1. Monitor your company’s first point of customer contact such as: customer complaint logs, chatbot and chatbox comments and conversations, inbound emails.
  2. Implement a customer satisfaction rating system such as Net Promoter Score to identify issues early and look for trends or common areas of customer complaints.
  3. Actively monitor traditional media such as print, radio and television for any mentions of your brand (positive and negative) using a third-party monitoring service.
  4. Use online alert tools to track online mentions of your brand.
  5. Deploy social listening tools to monitor the brand's social media channels for any customer feedback and direct mentions or discussions regarding specific keywords, topics, competitors, or industries.
  6. Ensure the communications and marketing teams are adequately resourced with the right tools.
  7. Have active management plans in place such as ‘Social Media Membership and Participation Guidelines’ including agreed escalation points that are captured in the risk management plan linked to brand and reputational risk.
  8. Respond courteously and quickly and aim to move the conversation offline as quickly as possible by inviting the customer to connect with a company representative who has the authority to respond to, and remedy the customer complaint.
  9. Finally, and this is often overlooked, actively encourage satisfied customers to write reviews highlighting the positives. This softens the blow if there is one or two dissatisfied customers compared to hundreds of satisfied customers.

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