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You CAN Handle It: Dealing with Negative Comments on your Social Media Sites

By: Beverly Ringstaff, ACS Advertising Creative Manager

The trucking industry is finally getting on board the social media bandwagon and enjoying the effectiveness of word of mouth with the limitless power of the Internet. However, there are some of you holding back because you fear negative or unflattering posts.

Think about it this way: Scenario #1—A conversation about your company occurs at a truck stop in Minneapolis. At your terminal in Iowa, you can’t hear that conversation so you have no way of being informed on what’s being said about you. Scenario #2 – A conversation occurs on a blog in Minneapolis (or anywhere in the world, for that matter!). You can not only monitor that conversation and listen to what’s being said but, more importantly, you can join that conversation and affect opinion.

Understand that avoiding social media doesn’t silence the crowd. In fact, it could make bad circumstances worse because you have no voice when drivers or customers complain. And what’s worse than not being engaged in the social media arena is trying to control it by deleting comments you don’t like.

Why? Because it’s already out there. Someone read it and is awaiting your response. Then the comment suddenly disappears? What does that say to the readers? It gives the impression that a) the comment was true; and/or b) you’re afraid to answer. Plus, when the person who wrote the message sees that it’s been deleted, they’ll post again and use the fact that their complaint or concern was deleted against your company. Essentially, deleting a negative Facebook post would be like hanging up during a customer service call. When done correctly, acknowledging negative feedback and responding appropriately is your chance to demonstrate how much you care about driver satisfaction.

Here are a few tips for handling negative comments online:

  1. Do not delete negative comments - It will only validate the comment and/or move the conversation elsewhere.

  2. Don’t take it personally - Remember, this is a public forum. Address what’s valid or relevant about the comment and stop there. You don’t have to reply to everything. If the comment is clearly an attack or an effort to pick a fight, let it go.

  3. Respond quickly - Letting a negative comments sit on a site without a response just lets more and more people see it and form an erroneous opinion.

  4. Make sure you set a pleasant, positive, and professional tone. This creates an atmosphere where aggressive negativity or attacks will seem out of place.

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