How to Manage Negative Comments Online

How to deal with negative comments online

Oh no! You’ve been tagged in a negative comment on social media!

What do you do?! How should you react?! Are you doomed?!

Breathe. Carefully. Of course not.

Negative Comments - FB

But you do need to follow some important steps to make sure this doesn’t come the next viral meme shared around at your business’s expense (literally!).

  1. You’ve seen the message.

    Maybe someone sent it to you, or maybe it’s a review on your Facebook page or Yelp. It doesn’t matter where it turns up. Now’s the time to take a deep breathe, read the message carefully and figure out what the real problem is. What’s the underlying issue the person is complaining about and, most importantly, how can you help?

  2. Take a screenshot.

    Documenting the message allows you to track the issue, follow u with a co-worker, or use to for training further on down the line.

  3. Don’t delete.

    You first instinct will be to delete that negative comment from the face of the planet, but here’s the thing: it will always be there. Nothing on the internet ever really goes away. This is an opportunity to be transparent with your customers and prospects, so let’s use it. deleting a message instead of addressing it openly, suggests you have something to hide, BUT sometimes an inappropriate comment does need to be deleted. If it’s derogatory, or discriminatory (more about this in a later article), or is just against the  code of conduct of your business (more this in another article), then you’ll need to delete it. You should still definitely take a screenshot though so it can be referred to later.

  4. Timing is important.

    Don’t delay your response any longer than absolutely necessary. Most social media users expect a response within 1 hour if it’s posted during business hours, or 6 if it’s after hours. If necessary, follow up with the relevant parties (maybe a co-worker or the owner) to get all the necessary facts.

  5. Keep cool.

    Draft your response. Remember the basics of good customer service. It’s also important to remember that your response will be judged by more than just the person who made the initial comment. All your followers will see it, so make sure you’re not getting anyone off side. PRO TIP: Reread your final draft before you send it. Ask yourself how you would feel if you were delivering it to your customer’s face. Make any necessary changes before moving onto the next step.

  6. Press send.

    Send your response. If it’s possible, provide an apology and a solution. Remember, this is an opportunity to turn an unhappy customer into a brand evangelist. Keep an eye on the replies, and make sure they’re responded to, if appropriate.

If it’s all too much and you need some help, we have solutions to make social media response and monitoring easier. Drop us a line to learn more.


Negative Comments - Pinterest.png

Published by Melissa Nile

Managing Director and Lead Strategist for Blank Canvas Digital, Melissa has been working in digital marketing for over six years. She has worked with a wide range of businesses, including not-for-profit, government and small, medium and large enterprises. She enjoys showing others the ropes to make their own digital marketing a success for their business.

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