Why Bad Social Media Reviews Are Better Than None

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Why Bad Social Media Reviews Are Better Than None

Circus master PT Barnum is loosely credited with first coining the expression, “there’s no such thing as bad publicity.” His basic premise was that, as long as people are talking about you – no matter what they’re saying – it’s a good thing, because your name is on everyone’s lips, and that keeps you relevant. Irish poet and playwright Oscar Wilde supported this theory when he famously said, “The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about.” Of course, chat with oil giant BP (remember that Gulf of Mexico oil spill) or Toyota (let’s not say the word “airbags”) and you’ll quickly get the other side of the publicity story. That there most definitely is such a thing as bad publicity and, quite frankly, it sucks. So what then, is the story with bad social media reviews?

Social media reviews, unlike news stories, are written by regular people. Their aim is to help other people make informed choices about a particular product or service. And they work. Studies show almost 70% of prospective customers go straight to a particular business’ social media profile to read the reviews before deciding whether or not to deal with that company.

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Customer feedback software company ReviewTrackers adds a few more compelling statistics:

  • 63 percent of online consumers feel online reviews are either “important” or “very important” when choosing local business.
  • The same percentage put the most trust in companies with a rating of between four and four and a half stars out of five.
  • Customers value social media reviews above product discounts.

What About Bad Social Media Reviews?

Social media gives you unprecedented access to your existing and prospective customers. It lets you engage with customers like no platform ever has done before. But it is also an open forum, and you cannot control what is said on it. So while nine out of 10 people might leave glowing reviews on your social media pages, that niggly little 10th person just had to whinge about something. Sometimes, their complaint isn’t even legitimate, never mind factual. But that doesn’t change the fact that they’re a consumer with a grudge, and they’re wasting no time telling other people about it.

Many companies turn white in fear at bad social media reviews, but the truth is – they can actually end up being a good thing. I can see you scratching your head in puzzlement at that statement, but bear with me – all will be revealed.

A negative social media review hurts, no question, and it might even do a little damage. But it could also do a helluva lot of good. I mean, you can’t fix a problem if you don’t even know it exists, can you? A bad review brings the problem to your attention, which means you can then take action.

Of course, you have to see that review first. And that is the often the tricky part. There are so many possible forums a disgruntled customer could use to express their frustration or anger. It might happen on a page you manage – such as your Facebook page, for example – but it could equally happen on Twitter, in the customer’s own blog or pretty much anywhere else. You have to watch out for all mentions of your company, products and services. A tool such as Google Alerts is a good place to start.

Turning A Bad Review Into A Good Thing

Many people leave negative reviews on social media platforms because they feel ignored. They have more than likely tried to get their issue resolved in store, by email, or over the phone, but without any joy. So now they’re venting, and you have to act quickly. It’s imperative to acknowledge the customer’s complaint as soon as possible before it mushrooms into a sticky virus that infects other customers. Don’t make excuses or try to justify the situation. You just have to own it, apologise, and offer a placatory solution. The solution doesn’t have to be immediate – you might first need to investigate and find out all the details. But a sincere apology for any stress and inconvenience is the minimum response up front. Then follow it up with decisive and appropriate action.

People do tend to read bad reviews first, but they will also read your response, and know that you cared enough about a customer’s bad experience to do something about it. It big ups your customer service in everyone’s eyes, and that’s always a good thing.

So you see, when it comes to social media reviews, perhaps there really isn’t such a thing as a bad one. If you’d like a little guidance in navigating the social media minefield, chat to Digital Coach. We speak digital marketing like bosses, and we’re particularly fluent in Social Media. So come have coffee with us and let’s talk.

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