How to Deal with Negative Comments on Social Media

September 24, 2018 - Reading Time: 4 minutes

While social media allows brands to reach out and connect with a wide range of audiences, the platform also opens businesses up to public scrutiny and derision. Every brand on social media is bound to receive negative comments or reviews on their pages – some of them legitimate, others not so much. Either way, we’ve got some tips to help you tackle all that negativity.

1. Always keep your cool

We know dealing with comments on social media can be exhausting as it is infuriating. For the sake of your sanity, we recommend you find a way to vent that doesn’t involve going online. You could scream into a pillow or punch a wall – whatever floats your boat. Just don’t ever lose it on social media, especially on your brand’s corporate page. Engaging in an argument over social media is a sure way to tarnish your brand image and lose the respect of your customers. This is a battle you cannot win. So take the high road and always be polite when replying to negative comments and reviews, no matter how undeserving you think the recipient is.

2. Never block/delete negative comments but you can hide them

Before we elaborate further, here’s a caveat: comments that are riddled with profanity and inappropriate content can be deleted if you state so clearly in your terms of use. Others that are scathing and unreasonable but don’t violate any terms of use shouldn’t be deleted. However, you can hide them.

Yes, the “hide” function on Facebook allows you to get rid of a comment without actually getting rid of it. Only the original poster and his or her friends are able to view a hidden post, the rest of the public won’t see it. This is a neat little trick because it means that the original poster will never know that you hid the comment, hence keeping you safe from potential backlash.

However, we recommend using this function sparingly and only if absolutely warranted. Hiding all negative comments increases the chances of you getting caught. It also makes your page look inauthentic. You should also refrain from hiding negative comments that are legitimate as they can alert you of problems pertaining to your product or service.

3. Respond to negative comments publicly

In Hug Your Haters: How to Embrace Complaints and Keep Your Customers, Jay Baer talks about dealing with “onstage” and “offstage haters”. “Offstage haters” don’t care if their comments get seen by the public, they just want their problems to be addressed. “Onstage haters”, on the other hand, want an audience. Social media is thus the perfect platform for them to air their grievances. In any case, you should respond to the comments quickly and publicly to help your customers overcome their problems as well as to gain control of the situation. When properly handled, you’ll be able to regain consumer trust and even impress enough to earn some diehard fans.

However, if you foresee things getting uncontrollable, you could try to steer the original poster offline so that whatever goes down won’t be public. Politely ask him or her to contact the relevant parties via direct message, phone or email so that further assistance can be given. Make sure they get the help they need or they might return to social media angrier than before.

4. Have a process

Though a lot of social media management depends a lot on the manager’s discretion, it is good to have a plan in place to ensure that they know the proper response to different situations.

When it comes to managing Facebook comments for our clients, we have a set of guidelines that we follow. We’ll usually drop those who post negative comments a direct message on Facebook so that problems can be settled in a more private setting. We will also reply to the original comment to notify them of the direct message. We keep in close contact with our clients to ensure that any issues are properly addressed. Customers are generally appreciative of timely responses, even if it’s just a simple one-liner saying that we’ll work on the issue. People just want to know that they’ve been heard.

5. Don’t forget to respond to positive comments too

It’s easy to get caught up in all the negativity. You need to make sure you’re acknowledging those singing your praises as well. A simple “thanks so much for your support” or “glad to see you’re enjoying our product” shows that you are responsive and serious about establishing a relationship with your customers. This can boost brand loyalty. Customers won’t just return to buy more, they may also come to your brand’s defense online. This is the best kind of defense against detractors – loyal customers aren’t doing it because they’re paid to, they’re doing it because they want to.

 

Tackling these tricky social media comments doesn’t sound too daunting now, does it? If you know anyone who’s struggling with the same issue, feel free to share this article with them!

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