How to handle negative feedback on social media

By Posted in - Crisis Communications & Public Relations & Social Media on January 25th, 2013 0 Comments

What do you do if someone, or even a competitor, is talking trash about your brand on social media? Your first instinct may be to delete the comment, or maybe even ignore it in hopes that no one will notice it. But these are some of the worst things you can do.

We had similar thoughts floating around our office yesterday, when one of our clients found negative comments about their product being shared on a social media site. This meant that we had to put on our thinking caps and determine a plan of action – and quickly.

It is imperative to respond promptly, so the problem post doesn’t become a bigger issue than it needs to be. Here are a few tips to help speed up the process:

  • Identify the type of feedback. Then respond accordingly. Mashable has a great article about how to define different feedback and the best responses.
  • Be personable. Act as though the person who made the comment is right in front of you, like you are having a face-to-face conversation with a customer in your store.
  • Don’t make it worse! If you attack the person, they might get defensive and lash out. Kim says that while we cannot control negative comments made by others, we can certainly use the same platforms and channels to tell our side of the story.
  • Admit your faults. If you really did make a mistake – admit it! No one is perfect. Then offer a solution to make things right. If the claim is false, make sure you say that, too; however, do not assume that the commenter knows that their claim is false. Position yourself as a resource rather than someone who is attacking the claim – you are genuinely trying to understand the situation and correct it.
  • Determine if it is widespread. If there is evidence that the negative feedback is spreading beyond the original comment, or is found on other social media or news channels, make sure you respond accordingly. Decide whether you need to take the conversation offline, or if you want to tackle the comment publically – such as, with a general statement on your company’s page.

Hopefully you do not have to deal with someone making unfavorable comments – but it is almost inevitable for brands, at some time or another. The key is being prepared to come up with an action plan. For more information on how to keep cool during a negative situation, read one of our previous posts on crisis communication.

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