A lot of brands and businesses worry about dealing with negativity on social media – especially when it comes to handling negative comments.
It can be hard to read negative feedback about your brand or product, and even harder to know whether to engage with these comments or not.
According to research from GlobalWebIndex, 54% of social browsers use social media to research products. Ignoring negative comments and leaving the silence for new customer to see certainly isn’t an option, but you also don’t want to make things worse in such a public forum… So what should you do?
A four-step response
When you receive a negative comment via your social media channels, we suggest that you do the following:
- Unless it contains swearing, threats or derogatory comments involving race, sex, gender etc, think twice about whether you should delete the comment. Unless you block the sender they can always come back at you again, and it instantly looks like you have something to hide.
- Respond in a timely fashion – i.e. ASAP! This demonstrates that you are pro-active and also means you’re taking action before it could escalate into a thread or a trending topic…
- Where possible, your main aim is to then move the conversation offline – either to a direct message or an offer to call or email the complainant directly. A good response would be something like: ‘Hi X – thank you for your comment. We’re concerned to hear that and we want to hear more from you about this issue – please DM us your details and we will get in touch ASAP.’ Make sure that you sound genuine with your responses though – you don’t want to sound like a copy-and-paste robot!
- Ensure you follow up the complaint promptly and efficiently. Offer an excellent service such as a complete refund if appropriate, some added extras or freebies. We have seen countless examples where a complaint is then turned into a positive with the complainant actually then posting about the excellent service they received.
Look on the bright side…
In short, negative comments can actually be a positive thing for your brand.
Firstly, you’re getting direct feedback about what you’re doing wrong and how you can improve your products and services.
Secondly, by publicly addressing these issues and resolving the situation quickly, you’re able to demonstrate your brand’s commitment to customer satisfaction and improvement.
Oh and one more thing – we would issue a word of caution when it comes to using humour. Although we’ve all seen viral threads where a brand has responded to negativity with humour, it’s rarely done right and can often cause further offence.
After all, in the age of screenshots and cancel culture, it’s better for brands to be humble and know when to back down!