Social media was originally used by public relations professionals to monitor bad reviews from customers. However, social media has evolved from just monitoring bad reviews into a powerful way to engage and get immediate feedback from people from everywhere. It has become a tool used to moderate conversations between businesses and consumers. Though social media is an effective tool to market and promote your brand, it also allows for an easy and anonymous way for customers to send feedback. And not all customers will be satisfied with the product or service that your business provides, so not all customer feedback is going to be positive. But if you’re expecting some negative social media reviews, you can learn to be prepared to handle them with grace. Many businesses see negative reviews as a bad thing, but, if handled correctly, they can work in your favor. Take them as a form of feedback. The comments aren’t anything personal against you – they’re about your business. Choose not to see negative social media as a personal attack, but rather as a way to strengthen the weaknesses of your business. The worst way to handle this negative social media is to respond harshly to the customer. How you handle negative reviews speaks volumes about your business. Customers often will remember how you responded in stressful situations more than they’ll remember how you responded in your triumphs. For example, the Applebees meltdown in which an employee was fired for posting the receipt of a guest on Facebook received a tremendous amount of social media attention. However, due to an unprofessional response from the business many people now think poorly of Applebees. Applebees should have responded to this situation more appropriately. If Applebees had chosen to take the meltdown and negative social media in stride and respond with a dignified apology, their reputation may have gone unharmed. Whether you’re a business or an individual, the most significant thing to remember is that you are still a brand. Your social media reputation is a crucial component in maintaining a successful business or being recognized in the world of social media. What you say cannot be unsaid. Your response to negative social media can never be deleted. Be prepared to handle the negative attention by having a plan – a plan to accept the negativity, not take it personally, and use the criticism to better your business.
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