Social Media Etiquette: How to Handle Negative Feedback01.11.11
For those first getting involved in social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter, the initial pushback can be over what content to post. And since social media for business is different than social media for personal use only, that means repeated posts about what you’re eating for breakfast probably won’t cut it, while instead sharing a link about something in your line of work will.
So, why did I post about my breakfast yesterday morning and how was it received?
I don’t have a Facebook Official Page, just my personal profile, so it gets a mixture of business and personal. And while I don’t recommend only writing status updates of “I’m having Life cereal for breakfast” or “I’m hungry. Time to eat” (regardless of whether or not you use your Facebook profile for business), writing about food in general is hardly off limits. People love talking about food, seeing images of food, and learning about food. And with so many people in my sphere of influence interested in healthy living, it seems relevant.
So, I took a photo of the box of donuts next to the bunch of bananas and posted it to Facebook with a question. As far as posting about something as vapid as breakfast, I thought it was as interesting and engaging as possible. At the very least, harmless.
As sometimes happens, though, it wasn’t liked by everyone. In fact, today, this post brought out a negative response from one of my friends. Shortly after I posted it, I saw this in my Recent News feed:
Now look: this isn’t all bad. Sure, it’s not quite the response you long for, but here’s the bright side:
- My posts were showing up in his News Feed.
- He didn’t instantly hide me.
And now it offers a chance to be gracious and informative — even if the snarky, defensive, juvenile route appears optional, as well: avoid that if at all possible. It’s very difficult to sense tone in people’s online posts – especially when it’s not someone with whom you regularly converse.
So, I responded:
The reality is that not everything you post is going to be interesting to all your friends. Even the most interesting people that I’m friends with post things that don’t do much for me. It’s just the way this whole social media business works: we post what we find interesting and thus we attract people with similar interests.
And if someone honestly doesn’t like anything I post, then they have two options: hide me, or defriend me. While, I’d rather neither option, I also don’t want to be bothering people either. I’m not going to change who I am, so the onus is on the other to decide whether or not to have me in their Feed. No harm, no foul.
Turns out, my friend didn’t want to hide me altogether:
I took the opportunity to inform my friend about the different options of viewing the Facebook News Feed, suggesting that Top News might be more their speed. Even then, my random posts could sneak through — although it’s less likely. (And in doing so, another mutual friend saw the thread and chimed, liking my posts. That may not have happened had I responded defensively.)
Not that it’s easy to keep your cool sometimes. It’s easy to take things personally online, especially when it’s about something you’ve written or something you feel strongly about. (I don’t care much about my own breakfast either, but it’s still something that I posted and, let’s be frank, we want people to like what we post otherwise we’d just write things down in a diary for only ourselves to see.)
Negative feedback doesn’t always have to end negatively. Even plain old criticism can be spun into either constructive criticism or – in this case – a teaching moment. Remember that the next time someone drops some dislike on your latest Facebook post.
Posted in Social Media | Tagged constructive criticism, Criticism, Facebook, facebook official pages, facebook posts, handling criticism, negative feedback, online etiquette, Social Media, social media etiquette, social media for business |
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