You just posted on social media, your notifications are going off, and you notice you have a healthy amount of likes and comments. Since you practice good community management tactics, you decide to proceed and read the comments. BOOM, there it is, amongst all the praise a negative comment. You see it as a weed in your perfect garden. However, that negative comment actually represents an opportunity to showcase your brand’s proactive customer service. 


Social Media, Everyone’s Personal Soapbox


One of the great things about social media is that it gives everyone a digital soapbox to voice their opinion. It lets people share their opinions on almost every subject, no matter how popular or unpopular their opinion is. If you need a entertaining reading material, we strongly recommend checking out the comments section on any trending youtube video. But sometimes those opinions are hardcore facts, even if they are negative. Let’s explore how to proactively manage negative feedback on social media. 

In This Case, Two Negatives Don’t Make a Positive:


Turning a Blind Eye

Leaving negative comments unmanaged results in two things, people will notice that you don’t actively community manage and that you do not care about your customers. This isn’t one of those moments where you leave something alone and hope it goes away. As a result, the negative comments will add up. Individuals will start noticing this and get more aggressive with their comments. An alienated person can also take more drastic measures such as leaving a negative Google, Facebook, or Yelp review. 

Silencing the Commentator

You might think that simply deleting the comment removes it from the public eye. However, you just silenced someone and people don’t like to be silenced. As a result, they might take more drastic measures. They could decide to comment with a vengeance and leave a more negative and aggressive comment. Furthermore, they might take more drastic measures once more and leave a negative Facebook or Google review.  Once someone posts one of those, they are permanent until the author decides to alter or remove it. If you happen to get a negative review, here are a few ways to effectively manage them.

Giving a Response Just For The Sake of It

Responding with simple answers like “looking into it” or “thanks for the heads up” just doesn’t cut it. You might be giving yourself a pat on the back thinking awesome, I was proactive and dealt with it. However, these are generic answers do not resolve the frustration the author is feeling. There was no solution or any indication of a followup given. Therefore, the commenter is left feeling alienated and as a result, might once again pursue taking more drastic measures. 

A SImple Copy and Paste Response With Contact Info

This one has a lot of good intention behind it, you’re acknowledging the problem, taking the conversation offline, and giving them a phone number or email to contact you with. You’re doing a lot of things right, however, the response isn’t personal and doesn’t address the issue. Individuals like scrolling through social media, they will start to notice the same comment over and over again. You need to ditch the formal corporate voice and make things personal.


Proactive Management Strategies to Try


Respond to The Comment With A Solution

If it’s a minor issue that can be resolved in the comments thread, go ahead and do it. Just remember to make it personal and resourceful. Example: Hey Steve, we are sorry you’re experiencing issue X, we recommend trying Y if you haven’t already. Please let us know if this helps you out. If you continue to have issues, please reach out to us directly. This creates an opportunity to have a micro conversation with the person. As a result, other users on social will see that you are being proactive, personal, and timely.

Ask them to slide into your DMs

If it’s a more technical issue ask them to direct message you. This is a great way to get an understanding of their issue. If it’s something beyond the knowledge of your social media community managers, the conversation provides an opportunity to learn more about the issue. As a result, this information can be passed along to whoever can solve the issue. Therefore, this allows for the issue to be resolved in a timely manner. Before you end the conversation, don’t forget to let them know who will follow-up with them, and the timeline for an approximate follow up. 


Work With Your Team to Develop Your Own Policy

Dealing with negative comments comes down to 3 things, be personal, proactive, and offer a solution. You and your team ultimately have to judge what the right response strategy is for your business. Be sure to also keep an eye out for online trolls. Here’s a guide on how to spot trolls on social media and how to deal with them. Dealing with negative comments is different for a restaurant compared to a financial services provider. If you’re working with a large team, sit down with your social media managers and go over common comments they have noticed. Together come up with the best ways to address them. This also opens up possibilities to gather data on how to improve your product and services. Great customer service comes from nipping issues in the bud ASAP and ensuring they don’t happen again.

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