Play nice, even when others don’t

17-JulyIn the third edition of our “What not to do on Social Media” series, we would like to focus on a human behavioral trait which is becoming more common on social media platforms, but is possibly also the trait we all have a problem with when dealing with it, Yes you guessed it , we are talking about criticism.

In a digital world where saying something nasty is as easy as updating your status, more and more companies are being subjected to unfriendly and at times completely unconstructive criticism from people.

For most of us our first instinct is to respond in kind. However without giving your response the adequate amount of planning hitting the enter key or submit button sometimes means having to go back and edit the post, or worse not noticing your mistake in the first place. Either way the action or inaction has made things worse, not better. You have effectively fueled a fire that you would most likely not have liked being lit in the first place.

We all have our own way of dealing with criticism but when dealing with a critic on an online platform the best approach is a uniformed one. The process should be this:

  1. Read and re-read the comment from the critic to ensure you have all the facts.
  2. Allow yourself the time to digest the comment.
  3. Re-search applicable statistics that could assist you in making your response.
  4. Compile your response in Microsoft Word or Outlook. This allows you the luxury of a decent spell check before posting it on the social media platform in question but also eliminates the possibility of sending the reply before you are ready to do so.
  5. Read and re-read your reply to ensure it is well structured and has facts or statistics you researched to make your point.
  6. Thank the person for taking the time to comment on your profile and follow it up with your well-structured and punctuated reply.

Now, chances are the person won’t respond to you given the fact that you have made your case stating facts, but most likely, the person would decline from replying because it will be clear to him/her (and all those reading the conversation as well) that you did not respond in anger but instead constructed a well thought out reply and most importantly thanked the person for their opinion before giving them yours.

However, should the critic reply we would suggest following a simple two point rule which is:

  1. Thank them once again for the reply.
  2. Request the individuals contact details so that you or a member of your staff can contact them directly.

The best thing to do to avoid a situation where there is a “back and forth” conversation (which could be potentially damaging to your brand) is to try take the conversation offline. But at all times remain calm and speak in a manner that is respectful and polite.

This is to show your critic and  those reading the conversation (who might be potential customers of yours one day) that you are a quality brand and that you are respectful to even your most negative critic. If you can show them this, then imagine how they will believe you treat your actual clients!

If you have any thoughts on other ways to deal with online criticism then we welcome you to share these with us on our various social media platforms listed below. Or should you need further assistance when dealing with negative criticism online please don’t hesitate to contact us.