Social media is a powerful tool for your business – it’s a way to start conversations with your customers, get the word out about new products, share promotions and content. It can be a fun and profitable way to engage with followers (and hopefully turn them into customers).

Many businesses invite their customers for feedback on their social media channels. So, what happens if the reviews they post aren’t all glowing recommendations for your work? We walk you through how to respond (and if a response is necessary) and how you can up your social media marketing strategy.

The Negative Review

If a customer had a bad experience with your business, it’s easier than ever before to let the world know about it. Whether you feel the review is fair or may be off the mark, take the time to look into the customer’s complaint. While the review may seem like it is over something small, the feedback could indicate a larger problem with your products or service. If this customer had a problem, they may not be alone.

Respond to the negative review both publicly and privately. You can get more in-depth in handling the issue when you email or contact your reviewer and can make concrete plans to remedy the situation. But, don’t skip the public response. Why? Responding to negative reviews publicly will demonstrate to other customers and potential customers that you take their concerns seriously and will work to give them the best experience possible. It’s best to publicly acknowledge the issue and indicate that you want to work to provide a better experience going forward.

Speaking of the response itself, it might be tempting to write a flowery apology or defend your business, but what your customer really wants to hear is how you intend to fix the situation. Don’t respond to negative feedback in the heat of the moment – let your cooler head prevail. If they are upset that their service was subpar, or you are out of stock on something they need, tell them how you plan to serve them better in the future. Customers don’t expect business owners to know every detail of every interaction that takes place in their business, but they do want to know that someone is listening and will work to make it right – always see this as feedback for improvement. Be sure to thank your customer for reaching out and bringing the issue to your attention – your sincere gratitude will go along way in smoothing relations, and hopefully invite them to take another chance on your business. Be attentive and earnest in your response and follow through on what you say you will do.

The Positive Review

Glowing reviews of your products and services are wonderful, aren’t they? You might be tempted to take the pat on the back and proceed to the next review. Even learning how to respond to positive reviews provides an opportunity to create a raving fan. Consider thanking the reviewer (by name) in your online response and contact them personally to provide additional incentives and value-added service. This doesn’t have to cost a lot (maybe a free beverage during their next visit, a small percentage off their total, or an offer to give them a sneak peek and the ability to be one of your first testers when you roll out a new product.) Whatever you choose, make sure it will make your customer feel important and appreciated, like they play an important part of your business. They will be delighted with your effort and will likely spread the word about your amazing level of service. By taking the time and opportunity to surprise and delight your customers, you are developing a loyal customer for life.

Reviews can play a big part in the success of your business. By responding to customer reviews the right way, you may be able to turn a negative experience into a positive interaction and create customers that will come back for more. Add these review response tips to your social media marketing plan and look forward to measuring your customer relationships!

Looking for more tips on protecting your business? Talk to your local Farm Bureau agent, who will help you protect your business as it grows and flourishes. Your agent will help you with succession planning and create a comprehensive insurance policy, so your business will be protected for years to come.