How to deal with negative comments on social media?

Social Media brought about a revolution in brand and buyer relationship. It broke down communication walls and made information travel much faster than traditional counterparts.

There is an optimistic view that the world’s attention is focused on social platforms. And brands that deny this reality will find themselves unable to remain relevant in their industries.

But there is one major concern that daunts every brand tempted to get into social media: negative comments. Most do not want toxic feedback to bombard their channels. Those who are willing, have no idea how to handle them.

Brands should understand that negative comments are unavoidable. The question isn’t how to avoid, but rather how to manage negative comments.

Sometimes filtering out negative comments are the best course of action. But there are many instances when they are constructive and valuable to our company’s growth.

Below are 9 ways to deal with negative comments that work most of the time.

Don’t Respond Right Away

Negative comments can hurt pretty bad, especially when they don’t try to sound respectful. We all know we need to reply to them, but we don’t have to do it right away[1]


In fact, make a point to avoid replying to nasty comments immediately. You are probably emotionally charged at the time, and any response would not have helped. Take some time to cool off, then take an objective approach to your response.

Always make a point to stay focused towards the topic rather than the individual. That way, your response will appear calm and collected. Other readers will also respect your ability to handle complicated customers.


You Don’t Have to Respond To All Comments[

There are constructive comments that may contain truths, and there are just plain hateful ones. There is no need to respond to all comments that come your way[2]


For all the good that social media brought to the world, it also opened up a smelly can of trolls into the wild. Sometimes it’s just better to ignore downright brainless ones, for the sake of your sanity.

If you cannot find any sensibility in the comments, they are not worth your attention. Simply ignore them and move on.

Consider the Validity

Tough love is still love. Not everyone will take the time to post negative comments just to spite you. Most comments actually contain important feedback that can help you improve.

Take some time to evaluate the contents. Strip down the nasty words and get into the core of their frustration.

What To Do When You Respond

Responding to negative comments can be scary at first. We are always afraid to come off the wrong way and spark a powder keg. Here are some tricks that can get you started.

Stick to the Facts

Nobody can argue with facts, but always avoid sounding patronizing. The worst response to a heated comment is through any form of arrogance or superiority.

If possible include references to your point from reputable sources. It helps show others reading the comments that you’ve done your homework well.

Respond with Humor

There are times when a bit of humor can help defuse the tension in the air. This is tricky, however. If done the wrong way, it can backfire.

Try to direct the humor toward the situation and not the person. It also helps to make fun of yourself if need be.

Take the High Road

You don’t have to win all arguments to appear smart. Being the bigger person allows you to let go of petty quarrels and move on to more pressing matters.

Your emotional state is more stable, and you also appear the matured one in the eyes of your Followers.

It’s Just an Opinion

It is also important that comments do not reflect fact. It is merely an opinion of what one individual think of your band and product. Although those opinions can carry a sense of truth, they’re not always black and white.

There is also the possibility that both of you are accurate from differing perspectives. Before you call their comments out, take some time to evaluate their opinion. Then give the appropriate response.

Respond With Apology and Solution

When complaints come your way, customers usually just want to have their problems solved. The best ways to calm an angry comment is to provide a humble apology and then offer a solution.

Target the Comment, not the Person

Front view of school friends bullying a crying girl in hallway of elementary school

Posting negative comments on your social media doesn’t make them bad people. We have all, as customers, overreacted negatively to a brand’s service or product before. And we sometimes realize our mistake only after the nasty complaint has been posted.

Always avoid targeting the commenters’ personality in your responses. Instead, address the topic separately from the person. That way, the commenter will not feel offended by your correction.

Use It As An Opportunity

There is a silver lining in receiving bad comments on your social network. It shows that your account has substantial reach and following. It is, in a way, good news that people are leaving comments on your posts.

For example, continual conversations will keep pushing your post to the top of your followers’ Newsfeed. This is essentially free and organic impressions that most brands will pay for.

If you are feeling up to it, keep the debate going without letting it get out of hand.

If It Gets Dirty, Block

Do not be afraid to block a user if their comments get out of hand[3]. The harmony of your social media account is paramount.

This is especially true when trolls hurl racist and abusive comments that are downright inappropriate. Some would even start abusing your other followers as well.

When it comes down to these situations, your followers will thank you for kicking them out of your Page.

But Never Ever Send Generic Responses

The worst thing that can ever happen to a negative comment is a generic pre-programmed response[1]. If the initial bad comment didn’t destroy your brand image yet, that generic response probably will.

Always take the time to construct one from your heart and head. It may be counterproductive to spend so much time on someone who is critical of your product, but the impression it leaves is worth it.

Turning Negativity To Your Advantage[

As a brand, we do not have to be afraid of negative comments. Consumers understand that we are all imperfect humans that make mistakes. What matters is how we deal with the fallout.

Keeping a clear and objective mindset when dealing with the nastiest comments will not be an easy feat. But with enough practice and patience, you will be able to do it effectively.

And not all bad comments are harmful. Some give you the opportunity to explain your product, which may convert some readers.

References:

[1] “The Right Way to Respond to Negative Feedback – Harvard ….” 31 May. 2018, https://hbr.org/2018/05/the-right-way-to-respond-to-negative-feedback. Accessed 31 Oct. 2019.

[2] “10 tactics for handling haters on Facebook – Marketing Land.” 21 Mar. 2016, https://marketingland.com/10-tactics-handling-haters-facebook-169322. Accessed 31 Oct. 2019.

[3] “How to Deal with Cyberbullying on Social Media : LifeLearn Inc..” 4 Sep. 2015, https://www.lifelearn.com/2015/09/04/how-to-deal-with-cyberbullying-on-social-media/. Accessed 31 Oct. 2019.

[4] “The Dos and Don’ts of Responding to Negative Social Media ….” 31 Dec. 2018, https://www.bluleadz.com/blog/the-dos-and-donts-of-responding-to-negative-social-media-comments. Accessed 31 Oct. 2019.

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