One of the reasons some companies avoid creating social media accounts is because they’re unprepared, especially for dealing with negative feedback. This intuition that with social media you’re bound to encounter the bad with the good is unfortunately accurate, but it shouldn’t be a deal breaker for growing your community online.

People are more likely to continue to be your customers if they feel like they know your company, they can believe in your company, and they like you. No one (and no company) is perfect. Errors are bound to happen. The key to making these errors work in your favor it to show your company is responsive when things do go wrong. When handled appropriately, negative comments can become an asset to your web marketing campaign.

Here are some strategies for how to strategically handle criticism on social media:

Value all of your customers.

Being responsive is the key to showing you value and care about your customers. Your company wouldn’t ignore a customer by walking away from him/her nor would your company not taking a customer’s phone call or hang up on him/her. The start to showing customers you value them is to respond, even simply, to any and all feedback.

When it comes to hiding, deleting, and blocking comments, try to be selective and follow your company’s social media posting policy. Make certain that your policy clearly explains what type of feedback is unacceptable so that there is no surprise when posts need to be deleted, blocked, or hidden.

Inappropriate posts that include irrelevant attacks can and should be banned but remember to politely defend yourself by selectively removing them.

Respond promptly.

Acknowledge and react quickly and publicly, but then make further communications to resolve the problem privately by direct messaging or by phone. Respond in your brand’s voice and think about the appropriate solution. Try and provide as much additional custom information in your reply as is possible to fully satisfy the upset customers.

Provide a solution.

Make an apology, surprise, or delight. If a dissatisfied customer leaves a post, contact them quickly and use this communication as a chance to resolve their problem. Try to provide them a solution to their problem while showing empathy. By doing so, you can transform a negative experience into a positive one.

It’s a conversation. Keep talking!

When it comes to dealing with negative comments, don’t follow a written script. Be original in your communications. This authenticity will make your responses sound more genuine to your customers. While it’s definitely wise to have some guidelines in place, remember to use these guidelines only as ideas for how to respond and not hard-and-fast rules.

Let’s start talking