Handling Negative Comments on Social Media

Trish McCabe Rawls  |  July 8, 2020

If it wasn't already, social media has become the life blood of every business given the current state of affairs, so our eyes are glued to it more than usual. If you're like pretty much everyone else on the planet, you could get a gagillion positive comments but still focus on the one negative engagement. Handling negative comments on your business's social media posts takes some patience and objectivity. It helps to remember these simple tips.

When a negative comment is totally out-of-line, block or hide it.

If a comment is just plain rude, unsubstantiated or otherwise offensive, do not feel bad about blocking or hiding it. There is no reason for people to respond in that manner. But be honest with yourself. If there is even a bit of truth to it, then address the root problem.

Try to read between the lines and see if there is any merit behind the negativity.

If someone is angry that they had to wait long to get served or bought a defective piece of merchandise, or whatever the case may be... try to take the anger out of it and really look at your processes to see if something can be improved. Why did this happen? Was it something that could have been avoided? Remember, they could be doing you a favor by alerting you of a negative experience. Other customers may have had the same experience and just never returned.

Always respond to negative comments if you can.

Most of the time people just want to be heard. But you have to be sincere. Not only can you potentially turn them around with your response, but how you handle negativity from disgruntled customers speaks volumes to other customers. "Kill them with kindness" is not just a cliché. Although it should read, "kill their negativity with kindness". Responding to anger with anger and defensiveness will only escalate things. Responding to anger with appreciation and understanding will de-escalate emotions. "I appreciate your honesty. I'm so sorry you had X experience and we're looking into why that happened." Or "We appreciate your honesty. We're so sorry you had X experience. We're working with our supplier to fix the issue."

Help customers realize it's not within your control -- if it's really not in your control.

For example, if weather cancels an event, then that was out of your control. If a supplier keeps sending damaged products, maybe you need a new supplier.

Continue the dialogue out of the feed.

If the resolution requires a longer conversation, encourage them to call, email or somehow get in contact with someone at your business to discus if OFF of social media. Just be sure to include some details of their concern so it doesn't sound like an automated response.

Follow up with them or offer recompense if possible.

Consider "making it up to them", within reason of course. Then after some time has passed, reach out to them and see if they've enjoyed the replacement product or if they'd like to visit again since you fixed X, Y, or Z. They will not only be shocked to hear from you, but may become your new favorite customer because you chose to take the time to care.

Handling negative comments on your business's social media is not as hard as you might think. This might help: I heard one time that the angrier a commenter is, the more they are hurting about something perhaps completely unrelated. So as a general rule of thumb, when you get negative comments on social media, pretend they're coming from a friend and not a stranger. That tends to take the sting out of it and allows you to focus on the real problem. Respond in a timely manner. Be authentic. And follow up.

Then go concentrate on generating more positive vibes on your social media posts.

You've got this!


Here are a couple of other blogs we've found on the topic that are pretty interesting.
Is Social Media Making Us Ruder
Why Your Brain Is So Bad At Letting Go Of Negative Comments 




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