Social for Startups, Part 3: Handling Negative Communications

SHIFT Communications PR imageIn this three-part series of posts, Molly Mandell, the Managing Director of SHIFT’s New York City office, takes us through some tips and tricks of establishing a social media presence for startups. In this final installment, we discuss handling negative comments or conversation on social platforms.

As with any brand, and especially with startups, there will obviously be times where you’ll encounter negative comments and feedback. The number one mistake is to ignore it entirely.

Again, the fact that we can have a 2-way conversation with consumers? That’s the whole point of getting brands invested in social media. Thus, within a span of 24 hours, any negative feedback or comment should be addressed in the social space. You don’t necessarily need to have the answer; you can send them to customer service, or let them know that you’ll private message them. Make sure that it is visible to all consumers, so they can see how quickly you’ve addressed the issue. This lends itself to further credibility and trustworthiness for your brand.

In fact, negative comments are the best! Some of the best feedback I’ve seen about brands in the social space is when they take something negative and are able to turn it into a positive.

For example, when I worked with Clinique, there was a huge outcry when the brand discontinued one of its lipgloss colors. Unfortunately, Clinique didn’t preempt this by alerting their customer base ahead of time and providing alternative options.

However, they were able to select certain customers who had given negative feedback and sent them some free samples of their new replacement products. Those customers then came back and said, “You know what? These are also great colors. Thank you, Clinique, for taking care of your customers and listening to our feedback.”

This is an ideal situation. Rather than neutrally responding in a mechanical fashion, you can utilize the values of your brand to take something negative and turn it into a positive.

Molly Mandell
Managing Director

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