Handling Negative Comments on Social Media

It’s a fact of life. Everyone will not agree on the same thing. Sadly enough, that goes for your brand as well. There will be people who love it and there will be some who either don’t care or feel the need to tell the world about how much they dislike it. It’s the latter that you need to be worried about. The people who post negative comments onto your Facebook page for millions of other users to see. One bad comment can start a chain reaction that could take your brand weeks, months or even years to overcome.

We’ve all seen it on other pages but what if it was on our brand’s page? Would you know what to do? From the numerous amounts of case studies on companies who have completely blundered up this situation, I’m going to guess the majority of us would say no.

Recently, I stumbled across an article on PRDaily.com outlining a few dos and don’ts of handling negative feedback on Facebook, even though these tips could include any social media site. Due to the incredible amount of SNAFUs on social media in spots like this, I felt the need to share this knowledge.

First of all, you should “respond no matter what.” Everyone’s opinion matters, even the opinions you don’t agree with.  Even if a consumer of your product didn’t like it, they were still a consumer once. No one wants another “Dell Hellon his or her hands. Even though this story is form 2005, it still proves just how important it is to answer no matter what!

Also remember to keep your reply simple. “According to Gini Deitrich from Spin Sucks, ‘There are four words that work really well online. They are, ‘I’m sorry’ and ‘thank you.’” It is ok to fess up that you’re a human to your online community and that once a while, a mistake might be made. Imagine how much better you feel after a fight with a friend when one apologizes and the fight is over. This is the same concept.

The third tip was to contact all individuals privately after they have made a comment bashing your brand or product. After a negative experience, they want to feel special and know that someone who is genuinely interested is hearing them. If you’re not, you should be.

The fourth tip is to not delete any content unless policies are in place regarding what can be deleted. A few instances where it is appropriate to delete is when the content of the comment is racist, sexist, includes verbal abuse, uses inappropriate language, includes pornographic content or has explicit antagonistic behavior towards other members of the community.

 The final tip is to deflect the comment towards a more positive direction. “Laurel Papworth recommends you try to move away from the negative conversation and toward a more positive one. She says, ‘Thank the commenter, ask for more information and then bury them in talking. If there is more than one negative reviewer, try the ‘Thank you, oh look, something shiny!’ approach.’”

Do you think these tips are enough? What else could you do to avoid a social media distaster?


2 responses to “Handling Negative Comments on Social Media

  1. Really good tips for those needing help with how to manage negative comments. We really do find “I’m sorry” works better than anything else. Yet…no one wants to say it.

  2. This rings really close to home simply because it is a relatable subject that all of us reading can identify with. The first thing I thought of was my own facebook page and how other people can really tarnish your image, and your page, with an unflattering post. The same can be said, then, for companies and brands like you discuss in this post. The one point that sticks out the most for me is “respond no matter what” People want clarity, apologogies, and justifications to certai issues, and companies should be mindeful enough to provide that.

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