5 Steps for Handling Negativity on Social Media

Even more so, for anyone selling a good or service online, life might be difficult. Negative feedback and responses on social media are normal and nearly expected whether you’re a brand or a person. You will inevitably hear these criticisms, but how you respond to them matters. Poor handling can damage your reputation and brand and drive away clients.

Ninety-four percent of customers believe that a negative review has persuaded them to steer clear of a company, according to ReviewTrackers. Because of this, it’s crucial to establish an unambiguous policy for what to do when you come across negativity on social media so you can address it before it causes a problem for your company.

1. Always respond to criticism of you or your brand.

Should you respond to every comment you get? In our opinion, yes. Building a personal and corporate brand requires maintaining public relations, including customer participation in favorable and unfavorable situations.

You can better engage with your followers by understanding their feelings about your brand and your content by taking note of the comments you receive, whether they are good, negative, or neutral.

According to Rosie Hall, a PR & Communications Manager at Hable, this strategy has been used successfully. She says, “My policy for dealing with negative comments on social media has always been to address it quickly, be sorry, and then try to take it off the public-facing areas to discuss it privately. In my opinion, your audience will be aware of any problems you may have, but the specifics will remain confidential. A golden rule for me is never to delete critical comments because doing so can make people even angrier and give the impression that your brand has anything to conceal. A firm no!

This strategy was used by the Royal Bank of Canada’s Twitter response team; rather than defending themselves, they came across as sympathetic and offered to assist.

However, your or your social media manager’s mental health will have to be the exception to this rule and should come first above everything. It may be challenging to deal with criticism on social media, whether it comes from consumers who offer critical but legitimate feedback or trolls who make blatantly unfair or provocative remarks.

To respond to negativity is natural. Speak to a member of your group or your circle of friends and family if a disrespectful comment impacts you. No matter how personal a comment may appear, the author is an anonymous third party. Be confident in your worth, pay attention to the positives, and let the bad disappear.

2. Decide how to respond to various forms of unfavorable remarks.

You should have a set of guidelines for reacting to notifications and messages as part of your social media strategy. Your team should be clear about how quickly they must respond and offer some sample, the on-brand message that responds to common inquiries.

The structure and procedures that the marketing firm, Online Optimism, has built to solve communication challenges, particularly when it comes to negativity, are shared by Stephanie Gutierrez, a senior social media strategist at the company. “At our agency, we create a Communications Guide for each client at the beginning of our engagement,” Stephanie explains. This enables us to prepare for any messages or comments—positive or negative—we anticipate seeing on social media so that we can respond as soon as possible.

Here are some steps to set standards for your social media communications based on Stephanie’s recommendations.

Determine your consumers’ most often asked inquiries and the favorable and unfavorable comments they frequently make. Ask your salesperson or team if you have one, Stephanie advises. You can also check your social media profiles to discover what queries and remarks you’ve gotten.
Create a few possible responses to the bad situations you expect so you have a choice. Having a few responses available, for instance, in case your customer support is unavailable or if someone’s order was incorrect, stops people from thinking that you are simply copying and pasting the same message for everyone.

Plan to periodically update these responses to ensure they are still applicable and fresh. To be ready for it the next time it arises, add any questions or comments that weren’t addressed in your guide along with the accepted answer.

Your reply should use the person’s name to address them in a specific manner. If they have a problem, acknowledge it and assure them that you’re trying to make things right. Customer-specific communications make them feel heard. Nike’s customer service team advanced personalization by offering to assist the consumer in finding the precise item they were looking for.
negative social media posts

Here are some additional guidelines to add to Stephanie’s suggestions in your communications guide:

You can be ready for any eventuality by keeping your policy in mind. In addition, even if they don’t often engage with consumers, make sure every employee is informed about how to handle criticism on your public-facing channels. Everyone in your firm will be prepared to handle all eventualities if you do it this way.

3. React punctually

Time management is a major challenge when reacting to unfavorable remarks on social media, as Rafal Mlodzki, CEO of Passport Photo Online, notes. When something goes wrong, people demand an immediate response, and social media makes it possible for customers from all over the world (and in many timezones) to interact with your company continually. Therefore, your silence could suggest that you don’t value your consumers’ feedback.

At Buffer, we have a lot of practice answering messages right away. Our social media profiles are accessible to team members in both Customer Advocacy and Marketing, allowing us to immediately reply to users. This tweet, which was sent out at 4:40 AM (GMT +1), and the response from our team four minutes later are an excellent illustration.

Although we have a sizable team in place for customer involvement, not every business owner can afford to do that. Remember to give your customers a time frame for when you’ll be responding to them if you don’t have the budget for a large team that is solely focused on customer engagement. Consider sharing this on your profile (for instance, by pinning a post with your response policy to the top of your Instagram or Twitter).

4. Respond to criticism with facts rather than feelings.

When someone makes a bad comment, it’s important to respond objectively by apologizing for your error, proposing a remedy, or refuting false information.