With all the positives social media brings to brands through promoting their business, establishing trust, and driving website traffic, no benefit may be more powerful than allowing brands to connect and engage with fans in two-way communication.Connecting and engaging is a great way to show the human side of your brand and transform customers into delighted promoters. It also opens the door for unhappy customers and followers to leave negative feedback for the world to see.

How would you address this? Is it even worth engaging in two-way communication if prospects will be able to see all your dirty laundry being aired out in the open?

Remember, negative doesn’t necessarily equal terrible. You will want to address the issues ASAP, but you can also promote how you went above and beyond for your customer in a case study. Also, it helps your brand look more human if you have a couple bad reviews sprinkled in (that you work to fix). That can make your 5-star reviews seem more credible.

Social media and brand managers do have a couple different tactics to address negative feedback.

They can:

  1. Ignore them
  2. Delete them
  3. Respond to them
  4. Hollowly apologize to them

Ignoring them won’t work. Would you ignore a customer who emailed, called, or walked in with a complaint? No, absolutely not!

Deleting them is even worse than ignoring them. If you have a messy room that your mom tells you to clean up, what makes more sense: cleaning the room the right way or shoving everything in the closet? If sitcoms have taught us anything, it’s that the closet explodes at the worst possible time.

Pretending like negative feedback doesn’t exist is one thing, but erasing them so it looks like nothing ever happened is flat out irresponsible. All you will accomplish is upsetting that commenter even more, ensuring he or she will tell all their family, friends, and anyone who will listen not to engage with your company (because you didn’t engage with them).

You can also try and placate them with a humble, but ultimately hollow apology. If you really want to make a difference and when his or her business, you need to take it one step further.

You need to say, “We hear you and we value our customers!” Go beyond and provide a recommendation or solution along with your apology. Consider all the customer service interactions you’ve experienced on both sides in your life.

What works better: I’m sorry, or I’m sorry, let me fix that for you and do everything I can to make it right?

Note: you do actually have to do something to go additionally beyond the expected level of service. You can’t just say it.

When you deal with negative feedback efficiently and effectively, unhappy customers will become delighted evangelists and tell their friends how awesome your company is and what great customer service you offer.

Talk about powerful marketing!