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How to Manage Negative Comments on Social Media

What’s that old saying? If you don’t have anything nice to say… Well, that was before the age of social media, which has empowered us to say anything, often behind a veil of anonymity. For brands, while channels like Twitter and Instagram enable community building like few platforms before them, they also open the door for frustrated customers to share their opinions. It’s important to take negative comments in stride and face negative sentiment proactively to ensure your social media communities will continue to blossom.

The short version: see negativity as opportunity.

1. Respond to Reviews

Every review deserves your attention. Whether a customer is singing your praises with a glowing 5-star review or putting in all caps some choice words we can’t publish here, it’s important to show them their feedback matters. Take the time with every review to write a response that’s personalized to that customer’s specific situation. Then, follow up with the customer privately to gather additional information about their experience and do whatever you can to rectify the situation.

By responding publicly and thoughtfully to reviews, especially negative ones, you’re not only doing your part to retain the customer who wrote the review, but also showing potential new customers that you care about your customers and make the effort to right wrongs. Once an issue is resolved, some customers will even go back and update their review based on the personalized service they received; you never know which reviews you may convert from 1 to 5 stars.

2. Coordinate with Other Teams to Keep Your Community Informed and Engaged

Just as you should respond to every review, so should you respond to as many questions and comments as you can. While there are questions you’ve received a hundred times, your newest customers may still need that information. Not only is this good practice to keep your community active; it also helps prevent misinformation from spreading.

It’s important to also establish an escalation process that works cross-departmentally. That way, if a hot topic bubbles up within the community or a new question arises, your social media manager can coordinate with the right people to ensure the proper response is sent.

3. Take the Conversation Offline

It’s not uncommon for an upset customer to comment on one of your posts to complain, making their bad experience known to anyone else who views the post. Addressing these complaints quickly is key to ensuring one person’s negative experience doesn’t impact other customers’ perception of your brand. In cases like these, addressing the customer’s concern and letting them know you’ll message them privately allows you to move the discussion to a one-to-one environment, while also showing other customers that the issue is not being ignored.

4. Wield Your Moderation Tools Strategically

Every social platform offers some level of built-in moderation tools to help. For instance, on Facebook, hiding a comment will prevent everyone except the person who posted it and their friends to see it. This can be especially useful for curbing trolls, who are looking to elicit a response from you and will only feel empowered if they notice you’ve deleted one of their comments.

On Instagram, you can specify words or emojis you don’t want appearing in your comments at all, and the platform will automatically filter them out of view. This is particularly useful for communities looking to keep profanity or hate speech out of their comments.

If a user becomes consistently problematic and is detracting from your community, you can consider blocking them entirely, which will prevent them from engaging with your content. This should be done carefully, as the banned user may reappear on other platforms.

Ultimately, managing negative comments comes down to maintaining an active and thoughtful presence on your channels. Doing so accomplishes several goals: it shows you care about your customers, it keeps them informed, and it can deter troublemakers because they know you’ll be around to moderate.

As social media evolves, so do the strategies of managing content and communities. If you need help managing your social channels, our Mods know just the right ways to respond, moderate, and engage with your customers. Let us know what challenges you’re facing on social and we’ll let you know how we can help.

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