“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.” — Warren Buffett. They used to say, “There is no such thing as bad publicity,” but that was before Facebook.
Stay on top of your social media game by keeping bad-mouthing in check, preventing competitors from reporting your accounts, and dealing with viral complaints to your benefit.
Problem: When a client is unhappy, he or she has many ways of telling you, but one of the loudest ways is to write on your Facebook wall or mention you in a post with the fearless @ symbol.
Solution: Being available 24/7 is the only foolproof option, but you can also increase availability by adding more moderators to your page. Just make sure they are granted limited access until they have proved their trustworthiness.
The next pointer is to use your mobile phone as a tool. Using Facebook’s free Pages Manager applications for iOS or Android will give you a great experience when managing more than one page.
You don’t have to solve a client’s problem immediately, but you do have to address it — even if it’s getting the dispute out of the public eye and into your customer-service department.
You’ll also notice that customers can mention you in a post. Be sure to check these for complaints. With personal updates taking a higher precedence in the new Facebook algorithms, the complainer’s friends are likely to see the complaint, recommend alternative businesses, or avoid your business. Moderate comments on posts, updates, link shares, promoted posts, images, and your page.
I once received administrative access to the page of a well-known startup, and there were more than 100 pending messages from angry or confused customers. I spent all night answering them in person, just to keep them from spreading their unreasonable anger against the product.
The Competitor That Doesn’t Play By The Rules
Problem: When a competitor or just any old hater decides that they don’t like your business, they can report it, which probably won’t do anything. But when they turn to their friends, social groups on other pages, or, even worse, pay people to report it (Fiverr anyone?), it can harm your page and your business.
Solution: Avoid the negative consequences by creating a powerful page with an active community. And be sure your page is in compliance with Facebook’s terms and conditions so that there really is nothing to report.
This is no drill, ladies and gentlemen. I personally know a very nice business owner with a very legitimate page for his product that was taken down due to a competitor constantly reporting it.
The Complaint Gone Viral
Problem: It might seem funny when mishaps go viral, but when it has to do with your business, this couldn’t be any further from the truth.
Solution: Breath deep and take control of the situation.
Apologize, admit you were wrong, and offer to help — publicly.
Don’t get defensive and don’t lose your temper. This situation is a good reminder of why you need to carefully choose your page moderators. Having interns or superfans moderate your page can help save time, but be sure to lay down rules of engagement. And remember these magic words: “What can we do to resolve this for you?”
This is a great way to calm an unhappy customer and come up with a solution. Most clients are more than happy to offer you a solution, and you’ll be surprised at how much easier it makes your job. Any phraseology asking them politely for a solution will do the trick. Viral complaints often start off with a bad first interaction, so excellent customer service from the start is the key to avoidance.
Whatever your business is — from a brick-and-mortar store to virtual social medial sites — you need to protect it.
You may monitor your store with an alarm system and cameras, but you can’t do the same thing online. Act with vigilance and temperance, and you’ll have good results in preventing harm to your business through social engagement.
Bonus tip: Many businesses are using promoted posts. Guard your promoted posts and do not let them become a playground for spammers. You’re paying good money: Don’t let people post irrelevant links and piggyback on your advertising.
You won’t believe how many businesses spend thousands of dollars and don’t moderate their comment threads.
Yoav Vilner is the co-founder of online marketing and growth outfit Ranky, and he has a passion for promoting cool startups.
Image courtesy of Shutterstock.