Social media platforms are meant to be fun, collaborative spaces for you to grow a community and engage with your audience. While this is the case 90% of the time, there are always going to be people lurking in the sidelines ready to chime in with negative feedback, a nasty comment, or even something about your business that just isn’t true. When this happens it’s important you know how to respond in a professional manner so you can maintain your brands reputation and show others that you’re listening.
Responding to Negative Comments
First things first, take a deep breath! If the comment is particularly outrageous you’re probably ready to type up a nasty response and let the person have it. However this is not a great approach for your business so sit back, take a deep breath, read the comment again, and remain calm! We usually like to talk through what happened with our clients when someone leaves a negative comment so we can help give them an outside perspective and navigate through responding. If you don’t have us by your side, grab a trusted friend or employee to help you out that can be a sounding board (and help you make a good decision in the long run!)
Step 1. Reread the Comment
Reread the comment and take time to dissect it. Is the person spewing nonsense or are they pointing out something you’re genuinely in the wrong for? Or maybe there was just a miscommunication and the person is confused. Either way, negative feedback is always an opportunity to learn from your mistakes and grow. If you continue to get negative comments and do nothing about them, you’ll only hurt yourself in the long run.
Step 2. Remain Unbiased and Gather the Facts.
This is much easier said than done. As business owners ourselves we know how easy it is to jump the gun and immediately assume the other person is in the wrong. It’s our business and that can make us overly sensitive to comments. Still, try and take a step back and consider the comment with an unbiased approach. Again, listen and learn.
Step 3. Stay Positive
When crafting your response, make sure the tone is positive and appreciative, not defensive or mean. If appropriate, thank the person for their feedback and explain your side of the story or the thought process behind the post. Trying to make others see your side of things can help strengthen your community and improve communication.
Step 4. Keep it Real
We all have pre-saved responses to quickly use when someone asks a common question or leaves a simple comment such as “love this so much!”. However, when it comes to responding to negative comments or addressing someone’s concerns, you need to take some time writing up your response. Keep things real and honest and speak from the heart. A response such as: “We appreciate your feedback, we will be sure to look into this,” just won’t cut it sometimes.
A simple template you can follow looks like this:
- Thank them for their comment
- Repeat their concerns or feedback so they know you genuinely read their message
- Explain why you posted what you did
- Invite them to send you a direct message or email if they would like to continue the conversation off social media
The last step is crucial! If things do happen to turn ugly (which they definitely can on social media!) moving things over to your DMs or inbox will keep the rest of your customers from seeing the conversation.
Lastly, if the conversation ends well, feel free to ask the customer to remove the negative comment or recommendation. While this can be a touchy subject, we’ve found that once the situation if the person feels like the issue is resolved, they typically have no problem removing their original negative post/comment.
Responding to negative comments in a professional and positive way will show others in your community that you genuinely care and are open to feedback. However as your business grows, it can become challenging to find time to do so. A timely response is just as important as a polite one!