Your guide to handling negative comments on social media

Ever spent a really long time on a post that you’re super proud of, only to put it up on social media and scroll through your comments to see a really negative one? We’ve been there. It sucks, it’s hurtful and (most of the time) it’s just downright false. 

Internet trolls have been around since the very beginning of the digital age and they don’t seem to be going away anytime soon. People seem to love hiding behind screens, writing negative comments to get attention or a reaction out of someone. 

So how do you handle these negative comments? Especially as a business owner? 

Although it can be tempting to retaliate, an ‘eye for an eye’ and all that, this isn’t a productive way to tackle the problem. Instead, you should try to take a more strategic approach to every negative comment. 

To help you do this, we’ve put together a step-by-step guide on how to manage negative social media comments: 

Be quick to acknowledge the comment 

As with most things on social media, time is of the essence, and this is especially true when responding to negative comments. You want to make sure that you get there first, before other people get the change to ‘jump on the bandwagon’ and it spirals out of control. To make sure you are always alert, check your social media account 2-3 times a day.  

Try not to take it personally 

When anyone makes a negative comment about something you or your business, it hurts but it’s important not to let it get to you. Take a step back, look at the comment objectively and make an action plan, before responding emotionally. 

Identify whether this is hate or constructive feedback: 

When you first receive a negative comment, it’s important to assess the motive behind it. Is this person one of your customers who was unhappy with your product/service and needs support? Or is it someone who is just looking to start a fight and be mean for the sake of it? Once you’re clear on the motive, it then becomes easier to decide your course of action and how to respond. 

If it’s hate…

If you decide that this comment has no real motive other than to spark hate, you have two options: 

  • You hide the comment and block the user 
  • You respond by either asking them to elaborate on their opinion or with a useful link to learn more about the subject. This will surprise them and leave them with not much to say. 

If it’s constructive feedback…

In this situation, the person has decided to comment instead of privately message you because they are unhappy and want the world to know. You are best to reply directly to the comment apologising for their experience with the product/service, offering them help and politely asking them to resume this conversation in private messenger. 

This way, it doesn’t look like you’re shying away from criticism and are tackling the problem head on. It’s also a great way to prove that you have excellent customer service.

Say sorry when it’s your fault 

It’s important to recognise when you’re in the wrong and owning up to your mistakes. As a company on social media, your highs and lows are all out there for the world to see. 

So, if you notice a few negative comments that are a result of a mistake you’ve made, say sorry. Own up to it and say that you will do better next time. 

Turn them into positives for your business 

When you first see a negative comment, it’s hard to see how there could be a positive side to it. However, the way people react to your posts and your business can be a great insight into the ways your business can be improved. 

For example, if you have a food company and you often see people complaining about the amount of plastic packaging you use, try to find a way to reduce this. Or, if you see a lot of people saying that they didn’t get the results they expected from using your product/service, maybe this highlights a need for you to educate your customers more and set realistic expectations. 

Negative feedback is a hard pill to swallow, no matter who you are. By using these steps, you can tackle it head on and become a better business because of it. 

If you need a little more help in navigating the world that is social media, get in touch with us, we’d love to have a chat!

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