How To Deal With Negative Tweets In 3 Easy Steps

As the saying goes, if you fail to plan you plan to fail.

One of the biggest reasons brands fail on digital is because they fail to implement a community management strategy. Social is such a valuable tool for brands to have a two way conversation with their target demographic, but unfortunately this opportunity can open up the floodgates to negative conversations.

So what do you do when you find yourself facing an angry customer and potential public shame?

Don’t panic!

Frankly, running around the office with a cup of coffee spilling over your hand while you hyperventilate isn’t going to help. Keep calm and avoid making any hasty or ill-thought responses.

Every brand faces adversity from their audience, and that’s okay. It’s how you deal with it that matters. Nobody ever gets it perfect, so it’s important to expect the odd mistake to crop up. That said, if you’re hearing the same negative criticism relatively frequently, it’s wise to listen to that feedback and make some constructive changes.

Get to the truth

You can handle the truth, I assure you. If you’ve fallen down in your consumers’ expectations, it’s important to find out why that is and discover the facts of it all.

Whether you’ve been directly targeted by an angry customer looking for vengeance or you’ve simply stumbled across a name drop in a disgruntled tweet, it’s important to get the facts straight. My advice is to always take the conversation to a private space, be that email or direct message. For example:

“Hi X, we’re really sorry to hear about your experience. Would you mind dropping us a direct message so we can talk about this with you?”

This means that you can get into lengthy discussions and you don’t the run the risk of ugly details coming to light in the public eye.

Don’t make promises you can’t keep

I’ve seen it before where community managers have asked users to get in touch so they can ‘rectify’ the problem when the conversation hasn’t even been had yet, and when they don’t even have full clarity over the issue itself. Telling customers you’re going to rectify the issue before you even understand it only sets you up for a potential fall. By all means, make that promise if you can keep it, but if you need more details it’s better to be up front about that. You might be able to offer compensation, but using the term ‘rectify’ suggests you can make the situation ‘all better’ and if that’s not the case, you shouldn’t be offering such false promises.

To conclude, it’s all about being clear and honest when it comes to negativity on Twitter. Where possible, try and direct people away from the public domain and never make promises you can’t keep. Be sure to have brand guidelines to hand and be sure to call upon a crisis management document when needed. Hopefully you’ll never find yourself in a Twitter storm, but if you do, I hope these tips help!

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