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school marketing news

Social Media: Responding to negative feedback

Posted by Caitlin Quartermaine

Social Media: Responding to negative feedbackWe’ve all seen negative posts appear on social media, and schools encounter this to the same extent as firms. Usually, it’s not long until someone else jumps in and before you know it, there’s a whole thread of negative comments on your page.

Schools can feel tempted to remove or not respond to the negative feedback, as you don’t necessarily want to validate the claim. However, it is important your other followers see that you have addressed it. Responding to negative feedback on social media shows that you are listening and are open to feedback.

Here are our top 5 tips on how best to tackle negative comments on social media:

  1. Respond quickly
    It is vital that negative posts from parents or members of the community are responded to urgently, before the problem escalates. If it is a complex complaint and you are unable to provide an answer to it immediately, acknowledge the complaint and advise that you will respond when you have an answer. Give them a time frame, so that they know when to expect your response. Hubspot recommend responding to negative feedback within 60 minutes.

  1. Respond well
    Ensure that you have addressed their issue, you are polite in your response and are not defensive. If what they are saying is true, apologise accordingly and seek to find a solution. If what they are saying is not true, thank them for their feedback and explain how what they have said is not correct, in the politest way possible. Make sure that you have checked with the most knowledgeable person in your school about the issue so that your response is informed and accurate.

  1. Don’t be afraid to apologise
    If something has actually gone wrong and what they are saying is true, apologise. Many schools can be scared of apologising because they have to publicly admit it’s their fault. Parents need to feel that they have been heard and that their complaint is going to be addressed.

  1. Customise your responses
    Schools have come under great criticism in the past as they have been caught using the same canned response to answer each complaint. This will get your parents offside as they feel like they are just another number and are not being dealt with as a person, by a person. Parents appreciate a human approach so ensure that you use a customised and personalised response.

  1. Take your complaint offline
    Many people just want a public forum as they know that the school is likely to respond favourably if they ‘out them’ on social media. Respond to the parent and then take the complaint offline to complete the resolution. Ensure that the parent has been responded to by the relevant person.

It is important that your school has a social media policy for staff to refer to. You might also find it beneficial and comforting to have a social media crisis management plan ready, should you ever need to use it.

To learn more about creating a social media policy and what to include, download our complimentary ebook:

Social media policy checklist

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This blog was written by Caitlin Quartermaine

Caitlin has a background in project coordination and brand management in the areas of professional services and education. In her free time, Caitlin enjoys watching live music and spending time with friends and family.


Topics: Education, Social media, imageseven, Communication, Social media management, Marcom, Social media marketing, School marketing strategy, School marketing