Facebook can be fun.
The Facebook pro managers of today were Facebook lovers yesterday. They found a passion and pursued it!
But Facebook can also make you miserable.
Meeting and greeting new fans and customers daily is generally a pleasure, but some of them are "trolls and haters." Their desire is to stir up the mud.
Others are good people with legitimate questions and complaints, but they can still try your patience -- especially at the end of a long, long day.
So... have you ever received NEGATIVE feedback on a Facebook Page? Have you found it necessary to handle a complaint from an irate fan?
Chances are good you have. And the reality is that angry, ridiculous, tough-to-manage fans and customers aren’t going to disappear.
Neither are your own mistakes. Stuff happens.
I know what it feels like to get backstabbed online. And I know how tough it is to bite my tongue and stay kind when dealing with someone who is rude (and who may be trying to get me irritated just for the fun of it).
That's why I wrote this post. I've found some Page-management techniques that have helped me, so I'm pretty sure they can be of value to YOU.
Invest a few minutes with me. The next time you meet up with an online complaint something you read in this brief article may be just what you need to avoid getting trapped in a losing situation.
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8 Ways to Deal with Negative Fans on Facebook
1. Develop and post your social media policy
A social media policy is a guideline your business creates to let fans know what is and what isn't acceptable on your Facebook Page. It lays out clear boundaries and defines potential issues.
Depending on the type of business you have, it could be helpful to draw up your policy statement and post it in your Page’s "About” section.
Your fans may never visit the tab directly to view your policy, but you can always send them a link to the tab when replying to negative comments!
For example, here is ConAgra's social media policy:
2. Take the conversation away from your fanpage
When dealing with negative comments on Facebook it is always uncertain where the conversation will lead. The last thing you want to see happen is a full scale argument igniting in the comments for all to ponder (remember the popcorn gif?).
A great way to keep this from happening is to get your Facebook fan to either email you or to send a direct message to your Page (make sure you have the messaging feature turned on).
Speaking on a one-to-one basis allows you to handle the concern privately. You will also find the fan is a lot calmer in a direct conversation without the influence of other comments to possibly help inflame the situation.
3. Get your comment procedure organized
It doesn't take long for a Facebook Page manager to discover the questions and comments that consistently reoccur. By implementing a process for efficiently handling them, you save yourself considerable time.
For example, a simple solution would be to create a separate document where you store your go-to responses.
You should include the most commonly asked-for links, the process you use when replying to an angry customer, scenarios, solutions, and your plan for who handles what (and when) to help ensure efficient and consistent managment of issues that are sure to arise.
Procedures help keep your responses timely and on track.
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4. Respond in a professional manner -- every time!
You've heard the saying, "The customer is always right." Well... the customer isn't always right (but the customer is still the customer).
As a fanpage admin, you will come across people who are contrary and difficult to handle. Some will try your patience, but you must always remain professional when replying to comments on your Facebook Page.
If you lose your grip, it is your brand that will suffer. Rude reactions ultimately lose business. Facebook is a public platform. It may feel you are speaking with one person -- but your aren't.
PRO TIP: Put yourself in your customer’s shoes and try to see the query from that point of view.
It's also important that you follow through by looking fully into the situation -- then let them know. The customer may still not be pleased, but you can say you've done all you can.
Whatever you do, DON'T take the negative comments personally. At the end of the day, it's a business you are running and there will always be those few fans you can't please. When this happens, it’s best to just move on.
Here's a classic example of what NOT to do when dealing with negative feedback:
5. Never, ever, never ignore comments
Ignoring negative comments on Facebook will not make them go away -- it may even draw even more negativity. Your business may not always have a satisfactory answer, but that doesn't mean you should ignore the comment.
The best way to deal with negative comments is to let the fan know you are looking into the situation and that you'll get back to them as soon as you have further information. This lets the fan know you care and are willing to take action on his or her behalf.
Another important point is to ensure you have a short response time. Aim to answer all responses within 6 hours (even if it's just to let the person know you are still investigating the query).
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6. Personalize your response
Never use stock replies when responding to your Facebook fans.
This doesn't conflict with having a process in place to deal with negative comments. While it's smart to have scripts available for common situations, don't rely on cookie-cutter replies exclusively.
Here's how to stay on track:
- Always use your fan's first name in your replies
- Always sign off by using your first name, e.g. ~ Ravi
- Always remember you are talking WITH people and not TO them
You'll notice your fans open up more -- and they'll be better assured you are personally doing something about the situation.
7) Don’t be afraid to delete
It's perfectly OK to remove fans from your Page when they ignore your social media policy and cross the line.
This may sound counterproductive, since you want to build a strong relationship with as many fans as possible, right?
If you have a fan who harasses others, is rude to your team members, or otherwise shows disrespect for your Page, then it is perfectly within your right to delete those comments and block the person from participation. Depending on the situation, you may first want to issue a warning and give the fan a chance to repent.
Thankfully, blocking someone is rarely necessary, but you should never stand for anyone mistreating your team members or the other fans in your community.
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8. Admit you've made a mistake
To build maximum trust and authenticity with your Facebook fans, don't be afraid to apologize.
We all make mistakes. Rather than try to cover up an error, it's better to be open and admit it. Your fans won't hate you for it, they'll appreciate your honesty and humility.
Moreover, it's best for YOU to declare a mistake than to have others see it and point it out for you. Honesty can help you avoid getting negative comments in the first place.
Conclusion -- 8 Ways to Deal with Negative Fans on Facebook
There will never be a sure-fire way to protect your Page from negative fans. These 8 techniques will help equip your business to handle every situation that arises. When something new comes up, add it to your playbook.
Social media is a dynamic place to be -- and you can't pick up one end of the social media 'stick' without taking the other with it.
Do you have personal examples or tips about how to deal with Facebook negative feedback? Please share in the comments below.