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Social Media Feedback, the Negative and the Positive


Posted by on August 25, 2008

If you are an individual or a company looking to get involved in social media then you need to be prepared to receive positive feedback and negative feedback.  In my opinion the negative feedback is more important and in fact I would argue that all the feedback you receive is actually positive.  I call it negative feedback because it is portrayed in a critical light, meaning that instead of someone saying how great and amazing you are, someone will tell you that you suck, but the important thing is to find out why.

Positive feedback is easy to give.  Let’s say you release a new widget, next thing you know people are praising you saying your widget is the greatest thing since sliced bread…ya…so?  Sure positive feedback is great, it let’s you know that you are onto something, that you are doing something right.  The positive feedback you get is a good indication that your product or service is satisfying customer needs or wants.  However, you are never going to get 100% positive feedback.  Some of (if not a lot of) the feedback you receive is actually going to be negative, what matters is how you deal with the negative feedback.  Make your negative feedback actionable and turn it into something positive.

Negative feedback is actually positive feedback, stay with me on this one.  Let’s say you create a widget and release it, now instead of praise, people are making voodoo dolls out of you and telling you that your product sucks (ok if they are making voodoo dolls then you probably have a serious problem).  Instead of going into defensive mode, listen to what your users are telling you and make the changes they are requesting.  Look at negative feedback as constructive criticism because that is what it is (minus the voodoo doll).  If people tell you they don’t like something about your product then you know what you need to fix.  If someone tells you that your product or service is buggy, doesn’t work, looks bad, etc. then you know what you need to improve upon, this information is priceless as it shapes your product or service into what it is.    Collectively, your feedback is a giant focus group comprised of users who want to tell you what they think about your product (or you, your brand, your company).  No focus groups is always going to have 100% of the people say they liked the product.

The reason I wanted to address this is because a lot of people are scared to use social media because of the negative feedback they may receive.  I’ll share a little story with you about some negative feedback I received when I first started writing.  During the first month of my blogging I was chastised by a reader who called me out for not editing my posts for grammatical errors.  The criticisms were rather harsh and at first I felt a little upset and defensive, but then I realized that the reader just told me what I needed to fix.  I thanked the reader for his comments and have since tried to be more vigilant of my grammar.  This is just one of the many ways to take a seemingly negative piece of feedback and turn into positive feedback.  I receive comments and emails from readers all the time critiquing my posts or asking me to remove certain aesthetic things, and guess what, I listen and respond to all of them.  Every piece of feedback I receive I consider positive.  The fact that someone is taking the time to interact with me and share their opinion is humbling and I am grateful for every comment or e-mail I get.

How do you respond to the feedback you get?  How have you been able to take a seemingly negative piece of feedback and turn into something positive?

Thanks for reading

  • http://blog.ecairn.com laurent

    It's all about listening ;-). And accepting.
    What get's in the middle of it is the 'me me me' – But if you remove it (aka, taking things too personally and too emotionally), the negative feedback becomes as you said a request for enhancement that you can easily act on.

  • http://www.sharingatwork.com Daniel J. Pritchett

    I love feedback, but I haven't gotten anything too harsh yet. Keeping your posts updated after the fact with corrections and new links is a great practice that I strive to uphold.

    At the same time, having someone slam you in public and getting that listed on Google is going to be a serious downer. With that in mind I play nice on any social media I use.

    • http://www.thefutureorganization.com jacobmorgan

      hey daniel,

      sometimes getting slammed in public really opens your eyes to the changes that you need to make. in my case getting slammed in public was great and i was forced to acknowledge my mistakes and make amends, also in public. that being said playing nice on social media platforms is usually the advised approach.

      thanks for the comment and for reading

  • http://www.thefutureorganization.com jacobmorgan

    hey daniel,

    sometimes getting slammed in public really opens your eyes to the changes that you need to make. in my case getting slammed in public was great and i was forced to acknowledge my mistakes and make amends, also in public. that being said playing nice on social media platforms is usually the advised approach.

    thanks for the comment and for reading

  • Pingback:   With Social Media, Any Feedback is Good Feedback by Social Networking Information for Business