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Managing negative comments on your allied health social media page

Let’s face it, there might be a time when you receive a comment on a social media page that you don’t like. I have seen people do it on social media – writing horrible comments about a business or about a person. It can really make you feel deflated, angry or wishing you never started on the social media wagon.

Don’t despair, we have put together this handy guide to managing negative social media comments:

  1. Read the message or comment carefully. What are they really saying? Try to see it for what it is and avoid taking it out of context. Remember it is hard to read ‘tone’ online and people might not have meant it the way you are reading it.
  2. What is the root of the problem? Is it just a random person writing something ridiculous to be a pest, or is it someone who has a legitimate complaint or concern about your service?
  3. Take a screen shot – it is worthwhile getting evidence of the post which can be used to train staff or for future reference for following up. Sometimes the writer might delete the post after writing it, so it pays to have a screen shot of it.
  4. If it is a legitimate concern someone is writing about, deleting it is not the first thing you should do. Addressing the concern will show that you are transparent and dedicated to working it out. If it is just silly spam then yes, delete it. If it is inappropriate, rude, or offensive to others, then yes, delete it.
    Act promptly. Most people on social media often think that you, or someone in the practice, will be on social media at the same time as them (often not the case!), but keep a daily check of your pages and as soon as you see something, make a plan of how to handle it.
  5. Cool the jets! Write a response offline, read it out loud to yourself, put yourself in the audience’s shoes, get a colleague or friend to read it. Remember your comment or reply will be judged not just by the individual you are responding to, but all the other people that are reading it! If you would not feel comfortable saying your response to the person’s face, then don’t send it at all!
  6. Provide a solution and apology – your response is your opportunity to turn something negative into something positive, so think about what you want to convey to your customer.
  7. Monitor your site for further replies.
  8. Offering the individual your time to discuss things further can be helpful and show that you are committed to sorting things out. Sending a direct message with your contact details is a good way to do this, or offering for them to call your room to discuss. Ensure whoever answers your phone knows you are expecting the call.

Relax, it can happen to the best. Try not to take it personally. Try to use the situation to improve your systems or processes going forward to prevent future negativity from people about your service.

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