Social media has truly given the consumer the ability to take charge of the conversation and offer instant feedback to your brand. Immediately visible and actionable by your customer service team, it's important to let customers know you've heard that feedback and are willing to respond, one way or another.

Positive feedback
Positive feedback offers your brand a chance to turn casual fans and admirers into full blown fanatics, the people we refer to as "brand evangelists." These superfans aren't simply sharing your latest blog post or video, they're actively touting your organization both online and off, advocating for you, and sending new business your way.

Three good rules of thumb for responding to positive feedback include:

  1. Thank them. A no brainer, we're sure, but it bears repeating. Thank your audience for the kind words they leave on your blog post, Twitter. or Facebook page.
  2. Return the favor. Is someone sharing your original content on Twitter? Take note of their latest post and share it with your network as well.
  3. Add them as a guest contributor. This doesn't mean everyone who speaks highly of you needs to contribute branded content. Take note of those individuals who really have the voice and passion to contribute something of value that your community will relish.

Negative feedback
In the social media realm, negative commentary around your brand will happen, whether you are participating in social media or not. By listening carefully to your online community, you'll easily spot customer complaints as they arise and defuse those situations quicker. Three good rules of thumb for engaging with negative feedback include:

  1. Respond quickly. Social media users have come to expect a rapid response, an observation supported by this article from Informationweek.
  2. Don't delete. As we detailed in this blog post, "avoid the urge to purge." Your customers may take that as a sign that your brand is uncaring. Also, keep in mind that screenshots are easy to grab. Disappearing feedback can still be posted elsewhere, and that won't reflect well on your brand.
  3. Don't feed the trolls. Stay focused on the constructive criticism. As John Hall, CEO of digitaltalentagents, states in this Washington Post article, "This is a great chance to support your position and gain respect by communicating it respectfully. You never want to leave negative feedback out there that makes a good point.

Any other best practices for handling both positive and negative feedback on your social media channels? Tell us about them in the comments.