- Elon Musk, Investor & Entrepreneur
More than anything, social media provides people with a platform that allows for people to state their opinion in a fast and easy way. Most of the time, these comments are nice and you can get to know your customers and followers. Unfortunately in light of all the good comments, there will always be a few bad eggs.
It happens. Negative comments will hit your posts because you can’t (and never will) please everyone. But the way you deal with those negative comments will have a huge impact on the way people see you or your business.
Why negative comments can have an impact on your business
Negative comments aren’t something to just ignore, especially when they are on social media. The vast majority of consumers read reviews, and pay attention to the opinions of their fellow consumers, using them as a guide for themselves when they are considering a new product, service, or brand. When someone reads something negative about your business, that can leave a lasting impact on the way that they see you in their head.
Your reputation is at stake, so it’s not something you can just ignore. So how do you deal with it?
Suggestions for how to deal with those negative comments
- DEAL WITH IT QUICKLY
Don’t wait. Responding quickly to a negative comment shows that you not only pay attention to the things your followers are commenting, but you also care when it seems that a customer or follower has some sort of bad experience or complaint.
You don’t want the person who posted the comment to feel like you don’t care or that they are being ignored. You might not be able to take care of the situation right then and there, but at the very least, let them know you will check into things for them and then follow through with getting back to them!
- BE REAL!
Social media is not the place for blanket scripted responses. Doing so will only make the commenter, and your followers feel like some sort of an auto-bot is behind the reply. Have a real voice when you reply and show your concern in a genuine way. They’ll feel more attended to when you personalise the situation.
- KNOW WHEN TO USE DM
While it’s important to reply back to those negative comments, sometimes it is necessary to send a direct message. Maybe you need more information in order to look into their issue in depth. Or maybe your reply drew a more negative or angry response. Know when it’s time to move the conversation to a private forum instead of on the comment feed of a post.
- OFFER DISCOUNTS WHEN THEY APPLY
If you have a customer that had a bad experience, it might help to offer them a discount on the product or service that they are having trouble with. Maybe there was something faulty with the specific item they bought, or they placed an order but didn’t receive it as promised, etc. Discounts can sometimes help a loyal customer remain by showing them that you truly feel bad for their poor experience and want them to keep coming back again.
What to say in response to a negative comment
When you’re responding to a negative comment, you want to be real and be yourself, but also make sure you are careful in what you say. Consider that you are speaking for the brand, and you want to maintain your brand’s core values in how you deal with the situation.
Don’t take negative comments personally. This could be hard especially for a small business owner when dealing with a negative comment. Negative comments, even though they seem as such at times, are not a personal attack. If you’re having trouble not taking something personally, take a step back for a moment and remind yourself that you need to respond in a calm and even mannered tone.
Try to write out your response first instead of just typing it out and pressing that reply button on a whim. Once you put your response out there, it’s there for the whole world to see. Take into consideration their situation and what the best response might be to placate their situation. Don’t forget that you can also simply apologise and take the conversation to direct message instead of continuing the discussion in the public forum.
Once you reply, make sure that you are checking back on the situation until it is resolved!
Things to not say when you receive a negative comment
Now that you know how you should respond to negative comments, here are a few things that you should avoid doing when they come across your feed.
By all means, avoid arguing with a commenter. You don’t want to ever get into an argument with a customer, whether that is in person, over the phone, over email, or, on social media. Make sure your delivery is out of concern and not confrontational.
Another thing to avoid is deleting comments. This sends a really bad message and can come across to the public eye as you censoring your comments so that only the good ones remain. That’s a quick way to gain a reputation for being dishonest and customers or followers will have a hard time trusting your authenticity.
The only time it is appropriate to delete a comment is when it is so entirely inappropriate, includes profanity or crudeness, just plain off-topic or rude.
To sum up, negative comments are just part of the social media world. They’re going to happen and how you deal with them is important. Don’t ignore them. Respond quickly and be personable. Show the commenter that you care about what happened and that you want to resolve the situation. If you can’t do so right then and there, promise to look into things and remember to follow up!
Know when to take the convo private into direct messages and be prepared to offer discounts. Don’t take things personally and move forward with genuine concern.
Responding appropriately to negative comments will show your customers that you care, and that what they think truly matters, even if they didn’t have something good to say.
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Thought leaders & celebrities share their tactics for success on the Lisnic podcast by Lisa Teh & Nick Bell