6 Tips To Managing Negative Social Media Comments

It’s bound to happen. You log into social media, check your notifications and find a negative comment! Human nature kicks in, and you want to respond and defend your brand/product quickly. But, wait! Before you proceed and respond, take a moment to read these tips to help you better manage the comments and your response. Your response etiquette can make or break your brands’ online image. Make sure you are handling negative comments or feedback on social media carefully. Social media is becoming the method of choice for customer complaints (as well as customer compliments), so you need to make sure you are checking it daily and you or your CSR’s are making it a customer service priority!

Read The Message Carefully

Take a good look at the message and read it carefully. Don’t let your emotions get in the way of understanding what the person is really saying. Ask yourself a few questions. What is the root of the problem? How can I help resolve this issue?  How would I feel if this happened to me and how would I want a business to address the issue? Do I understand why this person is upset?

Do NOT Take It Personally

Do not let your feelings get in the way of your response! Your brand, products, services are dear to your heart – that’s understandable. However, if you take it personally, you may end up responding in a way that can hurt your brand. A sarcastic or defensive response can make the situation worse, and can also result in other followers or customers to turn away.

Do Not Delete

Don’t give in to the temptation to delete the whole post or comment. Transparency goes a long way with fans and followers. When people notice that you have removed negative feedback, they will call you out on it publicly (resulting in more negative feedback), and they will lose trust in your brand. The only time you should delete a comment is if it is derogatory, racist, spammy, hateful, etc. Those are usually comments made by trolls.  If it is an offensive or derogatory comment, make sure to take a screenshot before you delete it just in case you need it at a later time if the person starts trolling you. This can also be used to train employees at a later time in regards to customer service and handling negative or angry customers and trolls.

Do Not Procrastinate In Answering

Taking too long to respond can make customers feel as if you are ignoring them or hiding from the issue at hand. Also, angry customers will usually go to social media first to get a faster response. Do your best to follow up within an hour or two of seeing the message.

Make a Draft of Your Response, First

Before writing a response and clicking submit – make a rough draft and look it over. If possible, have someone else look it over too. Make sure it is a professional and helpful response to the issue. Ask yourself if this would be an acceptable response for you if the tables were turned. Also, ask yourself if it can be construed differently. Is your answer clear and professional or can it be mistranslated and sound harsh? Remember – texts, emails, comments, and anything else written does not convey the right emotion and tone. It may be better to speak with the customer over the phone personally. In that case, you can ask the person to DM you with their phone number and give them a call.

Send your response

Again, make sure it is courteous and helpful. Provide an apology and a solution that works for the customer as well as your brand. Not only will the customer appreciate your attention to the matter – other followers will see it as well and appreciate your attention to customer issues. They will feel more comfortable buying from you because they know that your brand can be trusted and doesn’t ignore consumers. it builds loyalty and trust! If the response is a matter that requires a more private reply, you should still include a comment that lets the customer know you will be contacting them directly via phone or DM (or asking them to contact you directly on either). This way, they don’t miss a call or DM, and other followers will still see that you are handling the issue.

Extra Tip: Auto-responses

While automated responses are quick and easy, they are not always the best, and customers hate them if they notice you are always copying and pasting the same response. Some major companies tend to handle social media in this manner and comment with something like: “We are sorry for the inconvenience. Please send us a DM with your account information so we can look into the matter”. While this is actually a great response – the problem is that followers notice when your brand gives the same old response and many times the actual comment is being ignored. For example – some customers will tweet a comment stating that they have called, emailed and DM’d multiple times and have received no assistance. When you do not read the negative feedback and give an auto response that may tell the person to do exactly what they are complaining about already doing – you will only get them angrier and other followers will see it. This can start a chain of many more people joining in complaints and accusing your brand of not listening. You can have automated responses, just make sure they are in line with what the person is commenting. If it is not, then make sure you or your staff tailor the response (add on to it) with more specific feedback.

Do your best to turn a negative comment into a positive experience. Customers who were once angry and then received stellar customer service tend to also go to social media to let everyone know how great their experience was! Keep customer service on social media as a priority! Again, make sure you are checking social media daily and engaging with all of your customers – whether the comment is good or bad (just don’t worry about the trolls).  Also – search for hashtags with your brand, product names, etc. Just in case there is a complaint that you are not tagged in (it happens a lot!), and therefore you can still address any misunderstandings or complaints (or thank those who are complimenting your brand) Also, don’t forget to check out our article about how to handle negative Yelp reviews!

Have you had an issue with negative feedback? How have you handled it? Let us know in the comments below!

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