If you're reading this, you have sucessfully identified the best social media accounts for your business, have set them up and are posting content.
The hard part is definitely over - phew! However, running successful professional social media accounts isn’t all plain sailing and can come with its challenges. But once again, we are here to lend a helping hand and advise you on the best practices to take when dealing with negativity online, and the most effective ways to deal with negative social media posts.
Receiving negative comments online is inevitable and unavoidable, no matter how great your brand is or how well you deliver your message.
The important thing is to learn how to handle these negative comments, rather than just ignoring them and hoping they’ll eventually go away, or worse yet hiding them from the public eye.
In this blog we will go through the top ways of handling negative comments on your company’s social media pages, and take a look at how some of the top and most popular brands respond to their negative comments.
Don’t avoid negative comments
Like we said before, avoiding negative comments and hoping they’ll eventually just go away is one of the worst things you can do. Making a user feel ignored and not addressing their comment only enrages them further, and will make them dislike your brand more.
Keeping a constant stream of communication with your customers is important, that means responding to all of their comments, whether positive, neutral or negative.
It can be disheartening to receive negative feedback and comments, but learning how to handle them strategically is all you need to move past them. The worst thing is leaving those comments alone, letting them amplify and build up by not responding, threatening to further damage your brand.
Acknowledge each negative comment with an apology. Starting your reply with a simple sorry immediately shows how apologetic you are about any inconvenience or distress your consumer has experienced. This is the first step to resolving conflict.
This may seem obvious, but it can be easy to forget in the heat of the moment, especially when trying to defend a brand that means so much to you. We are only human after all.
It is important to keep your cool and embody a polite tone when responding to any negative comments, as sparking an incline of rage or disagreement will only lead to further negativity, which can leave a very bad taste in your customers’ mouth.
‘The customer is always right’ is vital to remember and stick by in this instance.
Explain the situation
This is a common error made by many companies. Providing a clear and honest explanation to your customers helps them understand the situation, especially if it is out of your control and hands. Not giving an explanation can leave consumers feeling frustrated.
MAC cosmetics, one of the country's leading makeup brands, took to their social media profiles to respond to consumers that were complaining about delayed delivery after having no luck reaching customer service over the phone. They explained that dealing with COVID-19 was delaying communication, but was a necessary part of keeping their staff safe.
This was a simple response to inform their customer that customer service operations were experiencing a slight delay at the present time, letting the customer know that they hadn’t been forgotten and are still valued by the company. Social media platforms give opportunities for companies and consumers to communicate easily, so you should take advantage of that when dealing with complaints.
Take the conversation out of the public eye
The most annoying thing about receiving negative comments on social media, is how public they are. Consumers responding to Twitter threads, or commenting on Facebook and Instagram posts for all to see isn’t ideal when you’re trying to build your brand’s presence on those platforms.
That’s why it is important to keep the conversation offline and deal with their queries and concerns privately. This avoids additional comments from frustrated consumers building up, as well as showing you care enough to deal with each enquiry on a one-to-one basis.
Reply as quickly as you can
Don’t take too long to reply to your annoyed customers' comments as you can make them feel ignored and neglected, adding to their frustration. The rule of thumb is to do your best to reply within two hours.
Keep it personal
Try to personalise each message to directly address and answer each comment and question. Your consumers don’t want a generic or automated reply. They want to feel valued and paid attention to, especially when expressing their concerns.
Sand & Sky went to extra lengths to provide this one consumer with a lengthy reply to acknowledge her feedback, apologise, give an explanation as to why it might have happened, and provide her with a possible solution.
So, there you have it, seven simple steps to help you deal with negative comments online. And just to end on a happier note - don’t forget to respond and share the positive feedback you receive online too. For as many negative comments your company pages receive, there are as many (if not more) positive comments to focus on to counteract the negative ones!