How to respond to a social backlash

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How to respond to a social media backlash

 

The internet can be a horrible place – particularly if you’re running a hospitality business.

 

Anyone who runs a hotel, B&B or any other form of accommodation operation will be all too familiar with the damage that can be done to both pride and room sales when a poor online review hits TripAdvisor.

 

It’s a horrible feeling – particularly when you’ve invested blood, sweat, tears and an awful lot of your own money into a business you absolutely love.

 

The same goes for social media – one off-hand comment by an unhappy guest can ruin your week and present a completely unfair picture of your lovingly-crafted business.

 

With that in mind, and considering the unfortunately inevitable fact that your establishment will suffer from a social media backlash at some stage, I’ve put together some tips on how to turn it around and avoid digital disaster.

 

Don’t respond instantly

It’ll be tempting to – I understand that. You’ll be angry, hurt and desperate to put the record straight, but by replying instantly, you’ll only end up saying something you’ll regret.

 

Take a breather, step back and collect your thoughts.

 

Don’t paper over the cracks

Whatever you do, avoid deleting the offending post, as some social networks will allow. Once something is posted online, it’s there in some form forever, and the process of deleting a negative comment about your business will only anger the author. Plus, you’ll look decidedly guilty.

 

Be personal

No – not that kind of personal! Rather than offering a canned, robotic response, show your human side by responding with a genuine, heartfelt reply.

 

Address the person by name and refer to the precise details of their complaint. Apologise for the fact they’ve felt compelled to post such a roasting review and say you’d very much like to turn things around.

 

Take it offline

The worst thing you could do at this stage is continue the conversation online. If you unwittingly find yourself up against a ‘keyboard warrior’, as they’re known, you’ll only end up in a spat that the whole world can see.

 

Instead, take the conversation offline. Provide a number to call you on or ask the poster to send you theirs via direct message

 

That’s it! By following the steps above, you’ll create a positive trail of response that anyone can view, and those that do will realise you care deeply about your business; they’ll be on your side.

 

But what about the original poster? Well, you’ll either get through to them on the phone and discover they’re rather more pleasant when removed from the digital domain, or they’ll simply disappear without trace. And you can move on.

 

Mark Ellis

Marketing Director at Welcome Systems