In the 21st century, social media has become an inevitable part of everyone’s life. While it’s a source for individuals to express themselves, companies need it for advertisement, connecting with consumers and finding out what people are saying about their business, including employees.
Currently, several companies around the world are cutting jobs as part of their cost-cutting efforts. This has led to widespread criticism on social media. Since addressing condemnation on digital platforms requires a careful touch; we exclusively spoke to a few industry experts to find out the most skillful ways to manage a company’s reputation.
Here are the five best ways for businesses to deal with negative social media feedback.
1 - 4As to tackle digital negativity
Ranjini Chakraborty, who is the Director HR of Giesecke and Devrient MS India Pvt Ltd, abides by 4As whenever there is a need to respond to any negative review or feedback.
Acknowledge - Always begin with acknowledging the person's effort to reach you. So, a basic 'thank you!' is a must. It brings up an immediate sense of respect, comfort, and ease to the irate employee.
Accept - It is an absolute must that if any such feedback is received and found or proved correct, we accept and own up. Acceptance certainly cannot precede any data point, facts and scrutiny. So be sure to carry out a thorough investigation just before accepting.
Appropriate actions - As soon as the data is found out, it’s imperative that appropriate actions are taken immediately. All correct measures like participating in employee branding surveys, while or before responding to any critique, an opinion poll, and quick research on historic data are run and an appropriate response is drafted based only on facts and not feelings or emotions.
Adhere - Last and the most important one is, in adherence with the organisation's policy framework and culture, the decision on the future course of action must be designed and the same must be communicated with a balanced perspective on the matter. So, instead of operating from feelings and reactions, leading with empathy, and exercising emotional intelligence helps in being appropriate.
2 - Do not take it personally
Not taking comments personally should be the initial commandment when a company receives negative feedback on social media platforms. “However critical the comment or the issue, the negative comments by employees do not necessarily mean that one is a weak manager or an unpleasant person. Even if the wording is a little brutal, one must keep in mind to consider the feedback as honest input from distressed employees,” said Sridhar Thirunakara, Founder and Managing Director at Outshiny India.
3 - Give the message a personalised touch
The response should address the employee in a personalised way, along with the rightful respect they deserve. “Such tailormade response from the company will make them feel heard and will send out a positive impact to the stakeholders at large. It will also show that the company and the concerned authorities are acknowledging the issue they are facing and will reassure them that there is room for discussion,” Shreshth Mishra, Co-Founder of Simple Energy told People Matters.
4 - Respond as quickly as possible
Timeliness is a crucial aspect when it comes to digital platforms. A speedy response signals to everyone reading the negative perspective towards your business that you care. Therefore, “early and patient revert will help in maintaining the brand reputation as well as showcasing empathy towards the issue and the employee. It is advisable to have someone on board to act like a devil's advocate before taking any adverse step while responding or reacting,” suggested the Founder and Managing Director of Outshiny India.
5 - Use the BIFF
BIFF stands for Brief, Informative, Friendly, and Firm. This is an amazing way to combat negativity on digital platforms, suggested Shreshth Mishra. He said, “It is important to respond in a very neutral manner to show the right empathy to those in need. As a company, our goal must be to leverage social media in the correct way to foster a supportive environment where people feel safe to have an honest dialogue, listen, ask questions, and express their points respectfully.”