How To Handle Negative Comments Online

Social media provides an opportunity to gain great brand exposure. The real key to social media marketing is to build up a relationship with your fans/followers that then become your brand advocates and spread the word about your business. Social media is word of mouth marketing. Yes, people buy from people… but they will more likely buy when recommendations come from their peers!

However, you can’t hide from negative feedback. It’s part of the reality of running a business, and in today’s socially-connected world—it’s part of the reality of managing a Facebook or Twitter Page.

Here are my 6 tips on how to handle negative comments on social media:

  1. Respond as quickly as possible otherwise people will feel ignored and will think you don’t care, however you don’t want to rush an answer and get it wrong, read the complaint and don’t reply without thinking.
  2. Reply sincerely, be human and be sympathetic to how they might be feeling.
  3. Give customers more information about why they were experiencing problems.
  4. Invite them to email you directly – but not a generic email address.
  5. Be honest and transparent. Do not try to hide or cover up something that has happened. Be upfront and apologise whole heartedly, admit fault if this is the case.
  6. Don’t take it personally. If you are in charge of monitoring social platforms, it can be difficult to maintain calm during times of high levels of negativity. The worst possible thing you can do is react in a defensive or aggressive manner; you must maintain a helpful and reasonable approach at all times. Yes, there will be times when a customer is being unreasonable or even using harsh language, but never, ever respond in a similar fashion!

When you deal with complaints effectively, dissatisfied customers will be satisfied and will tell their friends how great the company is and about the excellent customer service they received. Furthermore, they’ll encourage their friends to buy from you. They have now become a brand advocate! You’ve established brand loyalty and trust to a greater degree than you would have had if there had never been a complaint.

Just remember that no matter how fantastic your company is, mistakes happen, customers get upset and complain. With the growth of social media they now expect to be able to lodge these complaints – and get resolutions – via social media. Think of it as an opportunity to prove how fantastic your business is – or not. It’s your choice!

Have you ever had to deal with negative comments on your social media?

Written by

Aoife Rigney is a digital marketing and social media strategist, advisor, trainer and event speaker. Aoife loves her work – it’s her passion! From training one to one or a large group, advising a business on their digital strategy or speaking to a room of people – she simply loves it!

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