facebook dislike button 300x127 Responding to Criticism on Social MediaSocial media is a great platform for company’s to share, extend and enhance their brand awareness. It has the ability to bring brands and consumers together, but it also opens the door to transparency and open criticism.

Whether it’s an angry customer complaining about their experience, a former employee bashing you, or even a competitor snooping on your activities, these situations happen to every brand. By now you may have heard of the disgruntled British Airlines customer who spent $1,000 on promoted Tweets to share his negative experience. The result? His post was seen by more than 300,000 followers (negative brand awareness for BA!) and in the end, he was able to get his issue resolved.

So the question remains: What should you do in these types of situations? Here are some tips to help your brand respond to criticism on social media:

Listen

Before making any decisions, you should know what consumers are saying about you. The only thing worse than being criticized, is not knowing that you’re being criticized! Monitor keywords and social conversations to know exactly what’s being said about your brand.

Evaluate

Now that you’re monitoring what is being said, you need to evaluate whether criticisms are actually valid or not. Are your customers telling the truth? It’s better to acknowledge a weakness, than deny them. It’s important to remember that social conversations happen in public forums, so any response is a reflection of your brand. This means you need to take time to evaluate whether the criticism warrants a response.

Plan

Results from a recent study by Oracle illustrated that 81% of Twitter users expect a same-day response from a company. What does this mean? When consumers criticize your brand or share a negative experience, you should acknowledge the issue or complaint as soon as possible. This helps consumers feel heard, and also encourages them to work with you because you’re showing that you care. Remember that social media helps you humanize your brand. You should treat consumers with respect as you respond.

Let it Go

The truth is, you can’t please every consumer or satisfy every critic. However, you should make an effort to show your community that you care. Making an effort to acknowledge and trying to resolve a situation will only benefit your brand!