6 tips to help you handle negative comments on social media

Whether you’re constantly pumping out content across half a dozen social media channels or you just update your Facebook business page or Twitter page when you remember to, most companies now have a social media presence to some degree or another. It’s almost a prerequisite in modern business. But whether your social media activity is integral to your company’s success or more of an afterthought, knowing how to speak to your customers online is still vital.

In an ideal world, the only interactions you’d have with your customers via social media would be positive. How lovely would that be? Imagine it… Constant likes, shares, retweets and comments telling you and the wider world what an amazing company you are and how marvellous everything about you is.

But we don’t live in an ideal world. Social media can be a vital marketing tool. But it comes with its drawbacks. You will receive negative comments. It’s inevitable. But it’s not the end of the world. Provided you know how to handle these negative comments, that is.

Let’s have a little look at how you can not only limit the damage done by this sort of online feedback, but actually turn it on its head and come out of the situation smelling of roses.

Here are our top six ways to handle negative on social media comments…

Don’t delete them!

So you’ve followed the notification and it’s bad. One of your customers has taken severe umbrage with something you’ve done (or not done). And they’ve laid it all out for everyone to see. It doesn’t look good, does it? Your first instinct? BURN IT!

Keep calm, though. Do not delete the comment. It’s underhanded, cowardly and a cheat’s way out. Besides, how many people have now read the comment or tweet or message? Deleting it may not go unnoticed. Making you and your company look crafty and not a little shady. As well as incompetent.

You need to face up to what’s happened. Address the issue. And, vitally, try not to annoy the complainant any further. That said, if the negative comment was made on Facebook, it is possible to ‘hide’ it, meaning only the poster will see it. But we’d still advise against that.

Reply quickly

Don’t just ignore a negative comment. Handle it. Do so in a timely manner, as well. If you need or want to consult a colleague quickly first, go for it. But don’t hang about. A speedy response demonstrates that you listen to your customers, care about their thoughts and react to their feedback. However honest it may be.

People are angry when they write these comments, but they’re often surprisingly open to discourse. Solve their issue immediately and just imagine how professional that looks. Not only to them, but to everyone else who sees the exchange.

Maintain your professionalism

So you’ve not deleted the comment and you’re about to reply nice and quickly to it. The content of your reply is, unsurprisingly, key. Do not engage in public disagreement and argue the toss. Keep calm, keep cool and don’t row. It’s not a good look.

A simple complaint made by someone on social media that is handled poorly can turn into bad PR which negatively affects your brand far worse that the original comment ever could. So always be professional.

Contact the complaining party privately

If the issue is a complex one that is better addressed via email or over the telephone, offer to take the issue off social media.

A simple ‘We’re very sorry to hear that you are unhappy. Would you like someone to contact you directly?’ may well stop a huge back and forth. It may also stop the whole sorry saga being detailed in public!

Do your research
When you contact the person, privately or publicly – do so armed with some facts. Search through your customer database. Perhaps your CRM has some info on the person. Personalising your approach and reply may well strike up enough rapport and good feeling to easily talk them down and turn the negative comments into a win for both parties.

Don’t feed the troll

Not every negative comment on social media is going to be a well thought-out piece of honest and accurate feedback. Sometimes you’re going to get jokers being daft and messing around on your social media pages.

These ‘trolls’ are often fairly easy to spot after a while and you can save yourself a whole heap of time and trouble by just banning or blocking them.

Hopefully these tips help out the next time you need to deal with any negativity on social media. We’re pretty confident they should. Good luck!

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