How to Handle Negative Comments on Your Social Media Sites

So, you’ve read my post, “Why Your Franchise Needs Social Media”, and you’ve heeded my advice and set up a Facebook page or a Twitter stream, but now you’re stuck. A disgruntled customer has left a complaint on your page and you’re not sure how to handle it. No worries Top Performers! I’m here to give you a few tips on social media etiquette and how to handle negative responses like a pro.

First thing first, here’s what not to do: Ignore the problem by not responding or deleting the comment. Not addressing reasonable negative comments or questions may harm your brand’s reputation. There are a lot of people who just like to rant and make ridiculous comments online.  They tend to make their comments anonymously and enjoy getting a rise out of others.  You need to be discerning when reading online comments to determine if the author of those comments is reasonable or a ranter.  If they’re a ranter, leave them alone.  Others will see that their comments as not having basis or they will chime in to say something to get the conversation back on a positive track.

However, if someone is truly unhappy or concerned and goes out of their way to write a comment in your social space, know that deleting their comment or leaving their comment without a response will warrant repercussions in the same space.

What’s the best way to deal with those Negative Nancy’s who crop up from time to time?

The answer isn’t to give up participating in social media. The best way to react is by using a tactic that every Public Relations professional learns right off the bat. 

  1. Keep your cool. Don’t immediately lash out at negative posts. Step back, take it in, and create a cool and collected timely response that exhibits your professionalism and customer care.
  2. Don’t let negative comments linger. The longer negative comments go unanswered, the more time others have to see the complaint and that you haven’t yet responded. Address negative comments as quickly as you can to prevent them from turning into something potentially more damaging. Responding quickly will show the naysayer you’re listening and you care. It will also alert others of your dedication to your community members.
  3. React publicly first, then take it privately.  First respond publicly, whether it’s via a tweet or a comment on their Facebook wall post, and then send the commenter a private message so you can chat with them over email or the phone. Explain to them you’d like to discuss the matter in a way that offers a more personal and direct experience. This way, you give them the attention they’re looking for without making your interaction public for all to see.
  4. Keep replies concise. Get your point across without creating paragraphs of unwieldy text, which many won’t bother to read. Stick to the facts and keep emotions and personal views off-limits. If necessary, you may always link to a frequently asked questions page on your website.
  5. Monitor the developing thread and keep in touch with the customer until they are satisfied with the outcome.

Remember, negative comments can serve as an “early warning system.” You can turn a negative comment into an opportunity to showcase your company’s dedication to providing excellent service and demonstrate how you make customer needs a priority. This also creates a level of professionalism and publicly puts your customer service and brand dedication above competitors. Customers start to feel a personal connection when they receive an individual response, and it really is good for business.

Want more? Buddy Media Platform has created a free guide entitled, “How Do I Respond to That? The Definitive Guide to Facebook Publishing and Moderation.” Get yours here and customer service experts RightNow show how retailers are using social media to regain unhappy customers in their report called, “The Retailer Consumer Report.” Download your free copy here.

Kimberly Kelsey, Marketing Manager, Red Book Solutions and B2A


15 responses to “How to Handle Negative Comments on Your Social Media Sites

  1. Pingback: RetailWire Discussion: Retail TouchPoints: Social Media ‘Fatigue’ Impacts Channel Growth « Meyers Research Center: THE BLOG

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