Don’t just put any content on your social media – read our tips to help you post the best possible
content for your audience and to know how best to respond to negative comments if you get them.
- Top tips for writing for social media
- Responding to negative comments and criticism
1. Top tips for writing for social media
Post useful and interesting content
- Share content that your audience will find useful, relevant or interesting. Have a look at the Age UK Facebook and Twitter accounts for examples.
- Don’t just write – include photos and videos, too.
- Give your audience somewhere to go – include a link if it’s relevant, for example to your website.
- Don’t share the exact same posts across all your online channels (website, social media, email etc). Instead create unique content for different communities, or at least give it a different angle on each channel.
- Point at other stuff you think is good. This is how networks of trust are formed and also serves those who follow you or visit your pages. They are interested in what you are interested in – that’s how they found you.
Interact with people
- Encourage interaction by asking for people’s thoughts – don’t think of broadcasting to an audience, think of having a conversation with a small group of people and they will join in.
- Try to respond to all comments within 24 hours, even if it’s just to thank them for their thoughts.
- You don’t have to answer all the questions raised by what you post – the internet is a place for on-going discussion. Loose ends encourage this.
- Comment on other people’s blogs/twitter streams etc. – you’ll create stronger ties and allow their readers/followers to discover you and your content.
Use a natural and approachable voice
- Be human – think less like ‘a brand’ and more like yourself. You’ll be much more engaging this way, more authentic and therefore more trusted.
- Be respectful. This is particularly important when discussing or commenting on issues that directly relate to your organisation, customers, products, stakeholders and colleagues.
- Be inclusive. Respect the audience. Show consideration for individuals and do not engage in conduct that amounts to personal insults, obscenities or which compromises personal privacy.
- Be positive. Celebrate achievements with a positive tone.
- Be realistic. Views should represent a fair, rational and factual perspective.
- Be solutions focused. Post comments that add value to the debate and use good judgement.
- Be expert. Bring professionalism to the forefront and showcase talents.
- Be empowering. Post comments that drive people to get involved.
2. Responding to negative comments and criticism
Social media platforms do come with drawbacks; they are open public spaces on which anyone can comment and anyone can express their opinion be it good or bad. It is important to know how to deal with negative comments. Our social platforms are accessible to anyone so it is imperative that we handle all customer complaints swiftly and appropriately.
Below is a broad overview of the Do’s and Don’ts of replying to complaints on Social Media. This is meant as a guide for dealing with complaints received over both Twitter and Facebook.
- Reply to every negative comment received; not replying could seem like an admission of guilt or a lack of interest in the customer’s opinion.
- Reply within four hours. Most users of social media expect replies within this time (according to research undertaken by sproutsocial.com). The reply doesn’t have to be a full answer to the comment. An acknowledgement that we have seen the comment and taken it on board is often enough.
- Be as honest as possible. If you know that something has gone wrong the best course of action is to apologise and to try and find a solution.
- As with an offline complaint, immediately start investigating. The sooner you have the full story the easier it will be to deal with the complaint.
- Take on board what has been said. If a number of people are writing negative comments around a particular service, chances are that there is some truth behind it. Thank them for their feedback and confess that we are always looking at ways of improving. In this way you have acknowledged them as well as made it clear that you are looking to change the situation.
- Become embroiled in an argument with a customer on-line. Nothing looks worse than a back and forth argument so if you feel that someone is simply looking for an argument, provide them with a generic e-mail or phone number so you can carry on your conversation in private.
- Don’t give out personal contact details to complaining/negative commenters. Responding with a first name is fine, but don’t give them your full name, personal Age UK e-mail address or direct line. If the complaint is part of a wider campaign then you could receive far more complaints.
- Delete negative comments (unless they are offensive, contain vulgar language or name specific employees; in these cases delete the posts and explain why). If you delete negative comments it looks as though you have something to hide. Instead, use the “Do’s” above to deal with them properly!
- Try to answer them if you don’t know the correct answer or aren’t aware of what they are talking about. Replying ‘bear with us while we investigate’ comes across much better than you trying to come up with the perfect answer straight away as they will look to catch you out.
Special thanks to Tom from Age UK’s Social Media Team for putting this article together.