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.