5 ways to handle social media negativity

Social media negativity is a fact of life for both individuals and brands. 

As a brand, however, you want to make sure that you handle any negative comments appropriately. Any misstep can become a problem for your business.

About 94 percent of consumers admit that they will avoid a business that has a negative review. And negative reviews don’t just happen on platforms like Yelp. They occur across social media as well, whether it’s a formal Facebook recommendation, an informal Instagram post tagging the business and sharing the customer experience or simply a negative comment on one of your brand posts on any social media channel.

The following are five ways to handle social media negativity related to your brand, regardless of whether it’s a negative review, negative comment or something else.

Always respond to negative comments or posts

First things first, you should always respond to any social media negativity directed toward your brand. If you avoid them, they can snowball into the perception that your brand doesn’t care.

Address the negativity quickly, be apologetic, polite and offer to move into a private communication channel in order to address the issue in more detail. (That way, your audience knows you’re handling the issue, but the related details remain private between you and the customer.)

Of course, your team shouldn’t have to guess when and how to respond to social media negativity. You can start by crafting templated responses that address common frequently asked questions so that everyone is on the same page. Identify which questions come up from your customers the most (as well as any positive and negative feedback you expect to get or have seen in the past). You can then plan out a few responses to any given negative situation so that you have different templated options available.

Just make sure that you update these templated responses from time to time. And, in addition, always personalize a templated response for the user you’re responding to. It can be as simple as using his or her first name and summarizing his or her complaint to show that you are listening before you apologize and offer a way to help.

Use facts (not emotions) when responding

As a brand, you must remove all emotion out of your response to social media negativity, which can easily be upsetting or angering. Stick with your templated responses (personalized as needed), and leverage facts to address any potentially misleading information. 

Remember, while you’re responding to a particular user, you’re also addressing your entire audience who can see your response. Keep the facts simple and straightforward to clear up any confusion that could have been caused by the user’s social media negativity.

Never delete negative comments

If you delete negative comments, you risk angering people even more and looking like you have something to hide.

Neither is good for your brand.

Respond instead of delete. Of course, if there’s a specific internet troll who is harassing your brand (and there’s no private or public remedy to be had), there are tools across platforms where you can report the post or comment, report abusive users and even ban them from engaging with your account.

Always report harassment

Speaking of wayward, abusive trolls, there is a fine line between criticism and harassment.

While Facebook, Twitter and Instagram all have community guidelines regarding user behavior that you should be familiar with, you should also post your own “rules of conduct” related to your social media presence and your online community. Keep your guidelines direct and clear. 

If there is a user that is being abusive and making the rest of your audience uncomfortable, you should consider the next steps of reporting and banning, as available on the social media channel it’s happening on.

Depending on the harassment, you may need to involve your legal team on a case-by-case basis.

Learn from your mistakes

No one is perfect, including your brand. If social media negativity has brought an issue to light, consider it an opportunity to fix it. In that sense, negative comments and posts can be a true source of information regarding a problem with your product, your customer service or something else that could be happening on a larger scale.

If this is the case, then you’ll want to include in your response that a mistake was made that you want to fix and whatever steps you’re taking to resolve the issue.

Over time, this sort of responsiveness and follow-through will benefit your business moving forward.

In conclusion

Social media negativity can feel daunting, but as a brand, it’s inevitable that you’ll have to address it. View it as an opportunity to engage with upset users or customers and turn them into brand supporters due to your proper handling of their issue.

Check out our 11 tips to best respond to negative reviews specifically. 

As you make a plan to better address social media negativity, consider optimizing your digital marketing process, which includes automation, audience segmentation and enhanced email marketing capabilities, to name a few. DailyStory can help. Schedule your free demo with us today.

7 tips for handling negative social media comments

Negative social media comments are a reality for many businesses. But how you handle those comments can not only squash any social media fires but also improve your overall brand perception.

About 35 percent of customers in the U.S. post negative comments about companies on social media. However, answering a complaint on social media can increase customer advocacy by up to 25 percent.

Examples of negative social media comments include (but are not limited to):

  • Customer complaints, which are the most common
  • Trolling, where users are publishing outrageous comments that are oftentimes untrue and intend to get other people riled up
  • Spam, which promotes something else
  • Malicious comments, containing profanity and offensive language
  • Harassing or threatening comments, which harass or threaten your social media team, leadership, staff or even other users unrelated to your brand

While you’re considering your social media presence, check out these eight most common social media mistakes to avoid.

The following are seven tips for best handling any negative social media comments your brand might experience.

Don’t delete every negative social media comment

No one enjoys negative comments on social media, but resist the urge to automatically delete every one that you come across.

Deleting legitimate complaints especially makes your brand looks deceitful, like you’re hiding something. And no matter how quickly you might have deleted a comment, you never truly know who has seen it and then notices that it’s deleted (other than the commenter himself or herself).

Of course, if a comment contains offensive language to a degree that violates your community standards for your social media presence, then you always have the option to hide or delete the comment and then block and report the user.

Always apologize

Regardless of whether the negative comment is justified or not, it’s critical to always take the high road and start your response off by apologizing. Think of the “customer is always right” approach.

Not apologizing can lead to a public battle that will only drag your brand down. And remember, if the complaint is silly or the comment is totally unwarranted, others will see that. You’re never wrong for apologizing for someone feeling the way they do, no matter what.

Respond as quickly as possible

The more time you allow negative social media comments to go unanswered, the more time others can see not just the complaint but also that you haven’t responded.

It’s not a good look for brands.

Replying as soon as you can prevents the comment from bubbling up into something more damaging. It also shows the commenter that you’re listening and that you care. And that will be evident to other users as well.

Treat negative social media comments as feedback

No one enjoys reading negative comments related to their brand. Detach the personal feelings you might have and consider all comments as feedback, the good and the bad.

In that light, the tone of your response can and should have gratitude included. This is another way of taking the high road while also being human and relateable. 

Of course, if the comment is truly feedback that can be actionable on your end, make sure to take the next step and communicate that to your team.

Ask how you can help

It sounds simple, but when replying to a negative social media comment, apologizing for how the commenter feels and then asking how you can help is a tactful way to respond.

For example, the comment could be fairly offensive in nature, and the commenter will either be willing to tell you something that is actionable or so surprised that you responded that it ends there.

Either way, you gave it a tasteful attempt that everyone else can see.

Move the conversation into a private space

While you absolutely want to react publicly and quickly to all negative social media comments, it’s recommended to always suggest the opportunity to take the conversation private when appropriate.

This is helpful if someone is being particularly difficult or has an in-depth issue that needs to be discussed in greater detail. You’ll also be able to offer any discounts or other incentives to help make the situation right, which is something that’s better to do in private than in public.

Include in your response a statement that you’ll be following up privately with a direct message. That way, they can know to expect, but others will understand why the thread has ended.

Of course, within the private message, you can keep the conversation there or offer to speak over the phone or via email for a more personal experience.

Pick your battles

While we all want to make social media a more positive place that is beneficial for ourselves and our brands, some users are just attention-seekers looking to stir up controversy.

Keep an eye out for any patterns you might notice and what’s being said by repeated commenters. Pick your battles in general.

In conclusion

Staying on top of any negative comments on your social media accounts will help preserve your brand’s online reputation. When in doubt while writing any response, just be kind. The high road is the best road.

Digging into negative online reviews? Check out our 11 tips.

As you take a new look at how to approach negative social media comments, consider optimizing your digital marketing process, which includes automation, audience segmentation and enhanced email marketing capabilities, to name a few. DailyStory can help. Schedule your free demo with us today.