10 Tips to Deal with Negative Comments on Social Media

October 31, 2017 / by Shiho Hashimoto Shiho Hashimoto

10 Tips to Deal with Negative Comments on Social Media

When you encounter negative comments/feedbacks to your brand or to your influencers on social media, what do you do? 

Here are 10 tips to help you deal with negative comments or feedbacks from your audience on social media. One important thing to remember throughout this blog is that whatever you do on social media will reflect to your brand in either positive or negative way.

1. Don't panic

People might be complaining about your brand in their everyday conversations, or even worse, they might share their dissatisfaction with hundreds of people just by clicking the "post" button on any social media platform. You will realize the power of "share" or "retweet" when your audience vigorously reacts to these complaints. Before you know it, it goes viral and a crisis explodes.

What should you do then? Even if you are a seasoned marketing professional, you might still be overwhelmed when confronted by a giant wave of negative feedback towards you on social media. No matter how meticulously you have planned to deal with them, you must always remember to stay calm. Don’t act emotionally, which may lead you to make regretful decisions. Sit down, take a deep breath, and start digging up the root of the problem.

2. Have social media analytics service in place

Do you know why people are complaining about your brand? Is it because of your disappointing customer service, bad product quality, or inappropriate (e.g. racist, sexist) marketing content and message? These complaints might be floating somewhere out there without you ever knowing about it, if you just focus on your posts and its engagement rate on social media. Pre-emptive actions is always more cost effective than cleaning up the mess of a crisis after it has happened.

Having a high-quality social media analytics service in place helps you not only to measure the typical KPIs of social media activities (engagement rate, potential views, etc) but also to analyze the sentiment of your audience’s conversations. Each negative feedback can be tracked and followed-up with, before they go viral.

It is also important to measure the gradual sentiment change of your audience over time. If the result shows no signs of upward change towards positiveness, you must adjust your strategy.

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3. Face up with negative feedback

How do you react to someone complaining about your brand? There are two options: Ignore it/delete it (if it is written on a social platform which you can control) or respond to it somehow.

Why do people write their opinions in public forums in the first place? First, they want to be heard, whether by the brand of the product/service in question, or by peers who might have experienced similar issues. Second, they want the product/service they are complaining about to be improved. If you reply to your audience's feedbacks on social media, you will give an impression that you respect what they feel and say. When they see that you have heard their opinion and that you will try to tackle the issues mentioned in their negative comments, they will feel better, improving the chance for them to purchase the product again and to become loyal to your brand no matter what the issue might have been.

Added bonus of listening to customer’s negative feedback is that you might be able to find insights and ideas how to improve your product and services in the long run.

4. Be quick

Negative feedbacks on social media must be reacted to as quickly as humanly possible. The ideal time is within an hour from the time of the post. The sooner you respond to dissatisfied customers, the more likely they will forgive and cooperate with you to tackle the issue.

High-quality analytics service can help you react  immediately to negative posts related to your brand. Of course, you can manually follow and read every single comment on social media, but that is really time-consuming and waste of your valuable resources and skills. You might also not be able to react to negative feedback quick enough if you take the manual road.

5. Be polite

Quickly responding to negative comments/posts is not enough. What’s even more important is the tone of your reaction. You might be annoyed at some of the comments you read but don’t react emotionally with regretful attitude, stubbornness or swear words. Remember the first point; don’t panic and act on emotions. Choose proper and polite words carefully with a smiley icon at the end of your reply, letting them know that you are on top of their issues.

If you have a team managing your company's social media accounts, you should train them how to be polite on social media. This helps in building a consistent image for your brand.

In addition to responding in public, you can also send private message to the customer experiencing issues, and if deemed appropriate, offer a gift or a coupon as a compensation to show your gratefulness toward his/her contribution to the improvement of your brand.

6. Don't try to win the argument

What if someone is complaining about the quality of your product or bad experience on social media, but it turns out that the customer has done something against your instructions on how to use the product/service? Will you try to tell them that they are wrong and you are right? If you do that, even if the customer was actually at fault, you will lose him/her as a customer. So it’s just not worth it to try to win the argument while communicating with these customers.

You can express your empathy to the mishap the customer has been going through, like "We are so sorry to hear that." or "We are sorry for the inconvenience.". Even though the customer caused the issue himself/ herself while using your product, he/she would appreciate if if you suggest some solutions rather than focus on pointing out that he/she has done something wrong.

The worst situation here is if you try to prove that you are right publicly on social media. Not only the customer in question but also the audience following your conversation might voluntarily leave you because of your aggressiveness and rudeness. And of course, you don't want "aggressive" tagged to your brand name, do you?

7. Hire a communication specialist

As I mentioned in point 4, you need to be quick at reacting to your customers on social media. If you are a marketing professional tasked to do millions of other projects, reacting to comments on social media might slip off your radar and it might be too late by the time you have time to react to them. So you should hire someone to take care of social media, who is highly skilled in communication.

As your company grows in scale and your brand becomes more popular, it will become harder for you to listen to all of your audience’s comments and solve their issues. Even a dedicated team will not be able to handle the mountain of data. Like I mentioned in point 2, it will help you greatly if you have a high-quality analytics service to process large amount of data and support your social media team to be more efficient with accurate and relevant data.  

8. Get rid of internet trolls

Have you ever heard of internet trolls? Unlike bots, internet trolls are real people commenting something related to your brand. They like provoking others to get their negative responses or just posting irrelevant content under your posts to get benefits.

Internet trolls are quite toxic because if you respond to them, you might fall into the trap of an endless argument. When trying to quarrel or to shoo them away, it would consume too much time and damage your brand image. Also, arguing with them is pointless since internet trolls pop up endlessly; you will get exhausted soon.

A typical internet troll usually attacks your brand post by using these following things:

* Insulting arguments, ad hominem criticisms
* Invalid facts
* Unnecessary grammar/ spell correction
* Rude jokes
* Swear words
* Off-topic arguments
* Links to ads, irrelevant websites, coupons or free gifts

Carefully assess whether internet trolls are lurking around you, and delete those comments asap and stay away from them.

9. Learn from the others

If you listen to what people are discussing about on social media on a constant basis, you will find that many other brands are also struggling to deal with different kinds of crisis and complaints. By using a high-quality social media analytics service, you can do in-depth and customized competitor analysis. This type of analysis will help you gain detailed insights on how your competitors take care of their social media audience and react to negative feedbacks or communication crisis stemming from them.

10. Never go back on your promise

In order to deal with your unhappy audience, you might respond quickly with a promise for improvement and the compensation for their dissatisfaction. You know that you ought to do it, and you uttered these promises on social media either via private message or public comments. But it will become a disaster if you don't take actual actions according to what you have said. Your audience will condemn you as a liar and never come back to you.

Customers will not accept any excuses. Make sure that you won't skip any of your promises accidentally just because of lack of time. Keeping your promise is also a way to build the trust for your brand.

 

What should you do when your social influencers get negative feedbacks on social media, especially related to your brand? Help them. These ten tips apply to influencers also. By knowing how to deal with complaints, you will be able to act as a consultant to help your influencers overcome their difficult times.

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Tags: Brands, Marketing, Social Analytics, Social Media, Social Media Consultation, Brand Ambassadors, Brand Insight, Brand Management, Communication, Crisis Management, Big Data, Influencer Analysis, Sentiment Analysis, Social Listening, Brand Visibility Metrics, Competitor Benchmarking, Audience Response, Social Media Alerts, Social Media Monitoring, Brand Health Index

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