Christina Aguilera said “Now everyone is a critic” and if you have a Facebook page you have probably realised how right she is. You might not have had drama on your page but I’m sure you have seen flaming or critical comments on other pages.
I guess the best you can say is that if people are taking the time to criticise you, at least you’ve been noticed!
It’s hard not to react to comments and even harder not to be upset by them but you need to remember that the negative is always outweighed by the positive. You have far more supporters than you do detractors.
If you haven’t yet been the target of criticism on your Facebook page you are lucky. It will probably happen one day so work out how you’ll deal with it now before it does arise. My top 3 tips for managing online criticism will help you retain your professional credibility and avoid a slanging match in public viewing.
#1. Pay attention to what is being said on your page.
Did you know that you are liable for what people post on your Facebook wall?
Diageo’s Smirnoff Facebook page was the subject of a complaint after users posted images of people drinking, and made racist and sexist comments. “The Advertising Standards Bureau ruled that comments, pictures or any other user generated content left on Facebook pages that belong to brands are a form of marketing and advertising and are therefore subject to regulation under advertising codes.”
What that means is that you are liable for anything obscene or derogatory which is on your page.
How do you handle it?
If the comments provide genuine criticism, leave them there and respond professionally to them. If they are vicious or nasty, delete them and block the user automatically.
As the owner of the page you will need to monitor it daily to be certain you are on top of it. Set-up notification alerts from you Facebook page on your phone, this way you’ll never skip a beat.
#2. Do not get into an argument on your page.
If people complain about a missing product or give you feedback which is critical, reply to them but don’t react emotionally. I’ve seen page admins delete any comment which contains a complaint or something to suggest that the business is not perfect. The problem is that others will see it, too, and will watch to see how you respond. Deleting the comment suggest you have something to hide and you’ll smell of inauthenticity.
Don’t enter into an argument with the customer. Remember the GASP Jeans fail? Their brand was severely damaged after they turned a complaint into an online argument. It went viral, was picked up by the media and sparked hate groups on Facebook. This is the perfect example of what NOT to do.
How do you handle it?
Post on the comments that you are sorry, tell them how to contact your customer support via a specific email address and state that you’re looking forward to resolving the issue. Everyone knows that nothing will run 100% smoothly all the time so if you handle the comment respectfully and show your genuine concern you are more likely to win followers than lose them.
#3. Contact the customer via private message.
Making contact via private message allows you to talk in depth with your customer so you can really analyse what has gone wrong and how best to fix it. Offer the customer a free bonus such as a personal consultation, review on their website or something that costs you next to nothing but they will love, and which will turn that customer into a raving fan.
Most customers are reasonable and if they post critical comments on your wall it’s probably because they haven’t been able to find resolution any other way. Don’t see criticism as negative (even if it’s very pointed!) See it as a tool you can use to make your business better.
Monitor your page regularly to see what is being said and keep a cool head as you deal with it.