Hug Your Haters: Responding to Negative Online Comments

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Businessman using laptop computer in Durango, CORegardless of how much effort goes into a social media marketing strategy, it’s not uncommon to receive negative responses. But mishandling such comments can be disastrous, so it’s important to have a plan to handle such reactions.

Responses Are Public

When negative comments are particularly callous or rude, it can be easy to feel angry. A good way to ensure that this anger doesn’t make it onto the screen is to imagine that the response will be read by all of the social media account’s followers — because it very well could be. These responses are public, and it’s essential to maintain a level tone and respectability in each response.

Have a Dedicated Responder

Another good way to remain consistent is to have a member of the social media marketing staff be the dedicated person for responding to comments. Finding a level-headed employee who is intimate with the content will allow for consistency across the board, which is vitally important. This person can be responsible for crafting a set of policies and compiling a list of appropriate responses, which can then set a precedent for future reputation management.

Don’t Make Exceptions

Speaking of consistency, one of the most important rules in responding to negative comments is to never make exceptions to certain policies or procedures. It may be tempting to offer a particularly upset customer a certain perk or offer to alleviate their frustration, but this will set a precedent of making such offers to any negative commentator with the same issue. If a conversation becomes long, it’s always best to nicely request to move it to email or private messaging to answer all the customer’s questions or comments separately from the public channel.

Make It a Learning Moment

Even the most even-tempered employees may find themselves growing frustrated when experiencing an onslaught of negative comments. In order to remain positive about the experience, look at negative comments as free research and feedback as to what customers are frustrated about for future online advertising opportunities. Create a spreadsheet to track any issues or complaints, then check in monthly or quarterly to analyze any patterns or areas of opportunity.

Negative comments can be a frustrating and exhausting part of social media marketing, but having a specific plan for facing them can reduce the stress. For more help managing your online presence, fill out the BCI Media contact form to get in touch.