Handling Negative Comments on Social Media

What do you do with negative comments posted on your Facebook Business Page? Maybe you’ve been lucky and haven’t had any yet, so now’s a great time to think about how you WOULD deal with them. They say the only things you can be sure of are death and taxes…but I disagree…I think you can be sure you will eventually receive negative feedback via social media.

How Would You Deal With the Comment in Person?

If a customer walked up to you at your store and complained about the quality of your product what would you say? Social media really isn’t any different. It is just the new way of communicating with businesses and brands. Your customers might be a little more brazen on social media because of it’s “anonymity”, but they are still your customers and how you handle the questions directly reflects on your brand identity.

When you’re typing your answer you have to be doubly careful. There’s no body languange and intonation to help you out. Jokes sometimes aren’t read as jokes. Sarcasm is especially hard to interpret in type. Once you build your relationship with your followers, some of these things will get easier…they will begin to learn your sense of humour for example.

Say “I’m Sorry” and Mean It

Apologizing will almost always diffuse the anger a customer feels. They really just want to know that you’re listening and you’re willing to do something about it if you can. ┬áIf you need to look into a situation, make sure you get back to them once you do. Don’t leave a complaint hanging. It might be tempting, but ignoring legitimate complaints from your customers will look bad, too…like turning your back on a customer in your restaurant! If you are regularly interacting with customers on your accounts, you need to “interact” with both positive and negative complaints.

Don’t Feed the Trolls

An internet troll is the term given for someone who’s sole purpose is to comment on social media just to try to get people angry. The troll may not have even been anywhere near your store or product. They just look at the blog, page or tweet and think “How can I tick this person or their followers off?” Chances are they’ve not commented on your page before, or they’re a very new follower.

The best tactic to deal with a troll is to ignore them as much as possible. Don’t engage in war. If you can disengage without deleting the comment, that’s great. However, I personally think it’s ok to delete comments from an obvious troll and ban them from your page. I banned a person on my community’s Facebook page because he insisted on calling our residents “stupid” when they were overly cautious about a suspicious car in the neighbourhood. He wasn’t contributing to the community and was intent on being rude even after being asked to stop.

On a business page that might be a tougher decision. You want your fans to see that you are responsive to complaints, not just shutting them down. From my experience, most small businesses here in Halifax are doing a great job of dealing with complaints. It’s the larger businesses that have the problem!

This is by no means a complete “how-to” for dealing with complaints, but I hope it has given you something to think about. Have you dealt with negative feedback on social media? Did you do it right, or make it worse? Let’s hear your experiences in the comments.

**Coach Twirp is taking a break for the holidays… but she’ll be back on Jan 3 with another blog post!


1 thought on “Handling Negative Comments on Social Media”

  1. I posted complaints about iContact a couple of times on Twitter. They were quick to post a response saying someone would be in touch. All I can say is that they didn’t try very hard because I’m still waiting. It looked good online though.


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