50 ways to handle negative comments on social media

Negative comments on social media – it might have already happened to you and your brand. In the past, somebody might have posted or commented something negative about you on one of the social media channels. May be then you didn’t know how to go about it and had just let it go. By now you definitely know that it is not a good practice to just let negative reviews pass by without attending them. One negative comment about the brand can resonate with customers or clients and spread like wild fire.
How to deal with negative feedback
1. Respond instantly: The faster you handle negative comments on your social media networks, the more caring you look. According to Pew Internet, twitter users expect a response within 2 hours while facebook users can wait till 24 hours. It is always a good practice to respond swiftly.
2. Be precisely accurate: Though there is a sense of urgency, never forget that accuracy is also equally important. Be as accurate as possible and state only factual aspects.
3. Take time to react: If you are just replying instantly, you might make mistake unintentionally. So do your homework right before responding to such comments.
4. Double check before posting: Be sure by double-checking with the sources you are referring in your posts or comments or tweets. If you do not have an instant answer, at least tell them that you are looking into it, so that you can buy some time. You can always reply with the right answer after doing some homework.
5. Admit that you made a mistake: You have done a mistake or not, sometimes you might need to take the blame just to pacify the commenter. Accepting mistakes and apologizing in the community is the best way to make the community quiet and hence deflating the issue.
6. Do it like you feel it: While apologizing, do it like you actually feel it and not just for the sake of it. Do it with utmost sincerity and talk to them in their own language to make them feel comfortable and important.
7. Do not use flowery language: Do not use too rosy language that makes it pretty obvious that you are trying to woo them and actually not addressing the issue.
8. Be human: Social media connections are for real humans. Hence talk to them in an accessible yet professional language.
9. Be personal: Respond directly to the individual and not to the group as a whole. Use their names instead of addressing them as ‘Dear Customer’.
10. Back solutions with actions: Once the issue is addressed, find out ways to solve the problem without leaving it mid-way.
11. Build relationships: Build relationships with fans, friends and followers by adding value with deeper conversations.
12. Be patient: It is a common scenario for people to get hyper and shout out loud talking ill about brands when the brand does not fulfill their expectations. However, brands need to be patient enough to avoid any kind of debate.
13. Always be courteous: Be it your mistake or theirs, as a brand you need to take the blame and pacify the negative situation and convert it into a positive one.
14. Apologize: Tell them that you are sorry for causing inconvenience.
15. Say Thank You: Do not miss to thank them for pinpointing any mistake and for giving you a chance to improve.
16. Don’t reply to everyone: Replying to everyone commenting about your brand or services doesn’t show authenticity at all. Once you receive a critic message, try to understand the persona of the commenter and reply based on the credibility.
17. Check who they are: Person who has posted the comment is as important as the response itself. This is so because, you need to frame the response based on the type of person.
18. Prioritize your audience: With too many people all over the social media networks, you need to know who is on the top priority. Teams handling the social media networks should know how to prioritize and whom to serve first. However, less priority audience shouldn’t be ignored but can be addressed with some time lag.
19. Tell them it was useful: Tell the negative commenter how you have solved an issue or how that comment came of help to the organization. Telling them that you have improved based on their review shows that your appreciation is genuine.
20. Proactively take control: Monitor social media networks regularly and keep a tab on other blogs and forums to make sure that any negative response is addressed at the earliest possible.
21. Don’t lock reviews: Do not lock or delete reviews. Realize that criticism is way paved to success. Treat every negative response as an opportunity to build on and go ahead.
22. Never respond to SPAM:  Companies need to put in efforts to differentiate between a genuine comment and spammed one. It is the duty of a social media manager to comprehend the difference and act accordingly.
23. Do not talk ill about people: With anger or rage people have towards the brand since it couldn’t deliver what they have already expected, it is natural for them to throw negative comments at the brand. But this shouldn’t be vice-versa.
24. Walk away when needed: Situations might demand for the brand to walk away and stay away from conversations.
25. Don’t cook up stories: Do not irritate the audience by saying that you are not responsible for what has happened. Stories wouldn’t give them any solace.
26. Do not copy & paste the script: Do not give the same response to every negative comment, making it pretty obvious that you have a prepared script for such responses.
27. Equip customers with information: A negative response is a way of asking for proofs and facts. So give more info about the brand, product and services.
28. Assign a separate email or contact: Always specify an email address or contact number where customers can go to, when they have bad experiences with products/services.
29. Transparency is a virtue: Have the virtue of transparency and stick to it. Never shy away from any facts you need to give the customers.
30. It is all just business: Though you are dealing with people, all you need to keep in mind is the brand. Never let your personal voice out.
31. Never delete: Never ever delete a negative comment. Even after addressing the issue, retain it just so that other customers would know how you solved a particular issue.
32. Respond publicly: Apologize or state facts in public. Do not feel intimidated to say sorry or appreciate their criticism.
33. Solve privately: Once you address it in the public, you can take it offline and solve the issue privately.
34. Turn negative reviews into positive discussions: Every negative review can be converted into a positive discussion by addressing the issue at the right time in the right way and with a right tone.
35. Remove the comment and ban the commenter: Sometimes (rarely), the commenter gets too hyper that it becomes too damaging for the brand. If the case is unavoidable, remove the comment and also ban the commenter.
36. Educate the angry customer: Use every opportunity via a negative comment to educate the customers and add value to the brand.
37. Do not shy away to confess: Be it your mistake or not, never shy away to confess or to plead for forgiveness. After all customers give you bread and butter right?
38. Stand up and fight: When a customer blames the brand for no reason that too at an unbearable level, social media should take lead and stand up to fight for the brand. Responding sharp too helps with customers as such.
39. Back the story with facts and stats: Share facts and stats to back the story or the reason you’ve given.
40. Consider another possibility for complaints: People are not really on a verge to throw blame on you. It might be that they just wanted to vent out anger. So consider other possible situations that are leading for people talking negative about you and solve accordingly
41. Train your customer services representatives: There will be people passing negative comments be it anything. Companies need to invest time, money and train customer service representatives to act fast on these reviews.
42. Know when to say what: Remember that timing is one more important aspect that you need to consider while responding to
43. Elucidate how you are fixing the problem: Do not reason out or try to make excuses as to why you made that mistake, instead tell them what measures you have been taking to fix the problem.
44. Ask them for solutions: If you are dealing with a comment which is random or doesn’t hold much context, ask them how you can help them with the issues they have mentioned. If they have a genuine situation, they will state the solution else they might just step aside.
45. Get rid of attention-seekers: There are people who hustle up things just for the sake of drawing some attention. You need to judge careful and decide on whether to respond or not to the message. Remember to monitor these people to know if they are creating a negative buzz elsewhere about you.
46. Don’t debate facts: When responding to the negative comments, you need to focus on feelings on the commenter more than stating the facts.
47. Explain deletions: If you have deleted a comment, make sure that you give valid reasons as to why you have deleted it.
48. Block and report: You might come across situations where there is an offensive customer who keeps creating fuss. Block and report to the social media network about it.
49. Beware of competitors: Check if the negative reviews are from your competitors. Many small shops have this in their marketing strategies. So beware of those who are trying to create a ruckus about your brand. Ban the commenters or delete comments immediately if you identify that a comment is from a competitor.
50. Encourage comments: Actively encourage comments. Be it negative or positive, remember to ask them for more. Asking for their opinions will also prove of help to their brand.
The approach that a brand follows to respond to negative social media reviews how much the brand will lose or gain from the review. Here are 50 ways in which you can respond to negative reviews on social media.
 
By now you know 50 clear ways to respond to negative reviews popping up on social media channels. Did we miss any? Write to us in the comments if we did.
Dealing with a negative feedback

5 Comments

  • Some of the items contradict with the other, like 1 and 3 but yes it all makes sense, put together. Thanks for the great list! You actually want to thank the Simplify newsletter which got me here.
    Cheers!

    • Thank you Krinal. Yes in a way, point 1 and 3 cuts each other’s point. 🙂 But it is trying to show a balance that you have to react fast but not make a comment in hurry.

      • @deep the 4th one talks about being careful that again voids the 3rd one. But good to see other ways. Thanks for sharing

        • Thanks for the comment. Yes, it does look like conflict, but here we are trying to say that whenever you respond based on the comment, you need to reply accordingly. If you don’t have an answer it is better to comment by saying we will look into the matter, rather than trying to answer the question. Most often, people reply assuming the problem, which should be avoided.

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