Addressing Criticism on Social Media

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Criticism on social media platforms can happen to anyone, at any time, for any reason. Sooner or later, the inevitable will happen to you. And when it does, how will you respond? 

Some people respond by not responding. This is the wrong approach in most cases. If you don’t respond, people will assume you don’t care. But if you respond in the wrong tone or with the wrong words, you could get pulled down into the muck.  Then you risk giving others the wrong impression about you and your professional brand.  Sin in today’s post, I’ve written three strategies that may get you that all-important social media capital you need to remain alive and engaged in the court of public opinion.

People may disagree with your stance on a hot issue in healthcare

There are plenty from which to chose, aren’t there? On some occasions, you may feel you need to take a stand on a cor belief that your existing patients and social media strangers you’ve never met may disagree with. Does that mean you shouldn’t write what you believe in?  Not at all. One way to do this is clearly explain what you believe in and why you believe in it. Your readers have a right to express their views. They don’t have a right to spew venom, hate, bigotry, racist or threatening or harassing views and statements. They do have the right to be unreasonable, post ad hominem, or even be wrong or non-factual. You cannot control that.  Reiterate your policy on commentary. That people have the right to post different viewpoints as long as they are written in a respectful manner, right or wrong, they are entitled to their opinion.

Social media is a forum where people often make outrageous claims without support

This is especially true when it comes to posters who make claims against a brand. I see this happen often when former patients of a traditional practice are jettisoned if they don’t elect to purchase a concierge medicine membership program when the doctor decides to transition the practice. When you receive criticism about a core value or core principle of your business, it can give you the opportunity to restate your unique selling proposition (USP) to your social media followers. You don’t have to oversell what you stand for, because by simply responding to the criticism with honesty about why your product or service is worthwhile, you send a powerful message to your followers about the value you offer them.

Spiteful posts and how to react

Don’t waste time on obvious trolls who are only making negative comments that have nothing to do with real dissatisfaction with your business.  Some do this because they want to feel powerful. Some do it because they are jealous. Some do it to attack your credibility and value being asserted. Some do it because they don’t like you and some do it….. for click value to be found on the internet.  You don’t owe these folks engagement in any shape or form. 

Recently on LinkedIn, I had a reader, a physician in India who launched a new medical tourism platform comment that “learning and writing about medical tourism is different then righting (sic.) diseases, handling Patient need, I think you never worked with patients”. I answered with fact that “I have been in the business of handling medical patient transfers since the 1970s. Please don’t assume that I am an “armchair expert”. I am also a former surgical nurse in the operating theater and a former hospital administrator.” I stated the fact only, no emotion. I was succinct. Don’t get sucked into ad hominem. It derails the value of what you posted and heads it off in a direction that will be irrelevant to others.

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