Sometimes you aren’t going to please everybody no matter what type of business or blog you run. Sometimes you’re really going to piss somebody off. Recently there have been some pretty good examples of how NOT to respond to criticism on social media.
Anybody in the social media world has probably heard about a company called Amy’s Baking Company. It is a restaurant in Scottsdale, AZ and is the perfect yet extreme example of what not to do. If you haven’t heard about it the basics are that this company was featured on Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares TV show. The show is brought into failing restaurants for the host to find the problems and how to turn it around. The owners berated their employees, yelled at customers and told them they didn’t know what they wanted to eat or didn’t know good food, yelled at Gordon Ramsay and to top it off they STOLE server’s tips claiming that they paid them a good wage and didn’t deserve the tips. They were so bad during the filming that Gordon Ramsay walked away from the restaurant claiming there was nothing he could do to fix it.
If this wasn’t bad enough, after the episode aired people on Yelp and Reddit really hammered the business in addition to the bad reviews that were already there about the restaurant.
As amusing as this is to many people, this really is not the way to respond to criticism on social media. Then to top it all off to then claim it was hackers all along responding to the criticism does not go over very well either.
Of course this is a very extreme example and a great example of what not to do. So what do you do to respond to criticism on social media?
1. Don’t respond immediately or in the heat of the moment. The natural reaction is to respond right away but usually as humans the natural instinct is defense. If you’re defensive you can make things much worse. Typing in all caps and with poor grammar is a sign of someone in a rage or not thinking clearly. Let the emotion die down until you can respond in a calm, constructive manner. Even best once you do write replies, save them and look again at a later time just to make sure it comes across in a positive manner.
2. Don’t respond to everybody. Not everyone is there to find out what really happened nor do they care about your response. There are trolls who will stoke the fire and you would be feeding into them. Selective responses thoughtfully constructed and without emotion or aggressiveness will serve you best.
3. Don’t insult people Whether you agree or disagree with the criticism there is usually some kind of reason for a legitimate criticism. Insulting the person making the remark is very unprofessional and does absolutely nothing to add to the conversation or fix the problem. Process the criticism and realize it isn’t personal about you but about a certain situation.
4. Learn when to walk away. There will be times when you just can’t win. If it’s an emotional topic or one that other people keep piling on it can be best to just say nothing and let it die down. Keeping it going is just going to bring in even more trolls who don’t care about the issue but about how to rile it up even more.
5. DON’T LIE Coming out and saying it was hackers who responded when it clearly was going on for a good while is not conducive to winning the argument. The internet will call you out and it will get much worse for you. Be honest and genuine and things will get better.
Learning how to respond to criticism on social media can be one of the most beneficial things you can do for your business whether it’s online or b+m using social media. It’s not a topic people think a lot about ahead of time but by keeping a cool head and using these simple tips it can save a lot of aggravation.