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Dealing with Negative Comments on Social Media

Social media is the playground of the keyboard crusader and it is only a matter of time before a small business is on the receiving end of a negative comment or two. It is frustrating and can be stressful, but here are ways to navigate it with a positive spin and come out on top.

Address the Situation

The default response might be to ignore the comment completely and hope it goes away, but negative comments are like a runaway fire and before you know it, it can become an unmanageable situation that quickly loses perspective. So try and get in there with a response and take control of the situation before another keyboard warrior does.

Know Thy Enemy

There is no harm in taking a quick peek at the commenter’s profile to see who you are dealing with. This doesn’t mean you should treat the situation or comment any differently, but if it is clear you are dealing with an experienced troll it may help you not to take their comments so personally and keep your cool.

Respond Publicly First, Privately Second

Acknowledge the complaint or comment seriously and proactively without being defensive. Your aim is to come across as sincere and attentive without violating your values. 

Diffuse the situation in a way that would elevate your brand by making other readers feel your response was fair and positive – building trust in other customers so that they feel if they too had a concern it would be addressed positively.

Take it out of the Spotlight

Get the conversation out of the spotlight as quickly as you can after addressing the situation in public. Steer the conversation to an inbox message, DM, email or phone call and wrap it up in private.

When to Ignore a Comment

Social media provides a platform for anyone to say anything about anything. So if the comment is obnoxious or inflammatory you don’t have to dignify it with a response. 

Silence is also an answer. 

In plenty of cases clients, friends and colleagues will get there first and defend you to the very last, so let the event run its course within reasonable limits and then turn off commenting. 

You then have the choice to leave it there for everyone to see or delete it and ban/report the user. Depending on the severity of the comment, you also have an opportunity to make a statement about your core values and what you will and won’t tolerate.

At the end of the day as long as you respond quickly and without defensive rage, all will be good. If you are not sure, get a trusted friend or colleague to give you some impartial feedback before you send off your response. 

Negative feedback on social media can provide customers and clients with a transparent picture of how you handle difficult situations. Diffuse the situation with positive energy, grace and attentive customer service and you will win every time.

Have you successfully navigated a stressful and negative comment situation on social media? Share your story, it could help others in the same sticky situation.

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