Despite all efforts to keep a flawless presence online, brands will inevitably have to be dealing with negative comments on their social media.
Considering that the primary function of social media is to communicate with others, communities are easily able to share their experiences regarding brands they are doing business with. Therefore, reputation of brands can be heavily affected by discussions online when they involve many people and that’s why you should be dealing with negative comments on socials.
Unfortunately for community managers, negative comments tend to have more impact than positive ones because of the negativity bias experienced by people. 1
In other words, yes, people read those.
Adding to that, HubSpot claims that 50% of customers would be ready to stop trading with businesses that are not dealing with negatives comments on their social media.
Therefore, it is crucial to act and to be dealing with negative comments on social media. Here are some ways to do so:
1. Response time
It’s important to respond quickly to legitimate complaints. Even if the required time may vary between social platforms, many sources agree to say that people expressing issues on social media are expecting fast answers. Within an hour on Twitter according to hub spot.
After responding publicly to the comment to let others know you took action, it may be a good idea to write directly in private message to the customer to resolve the matter considering that 79% of users (once again according to HubSpot) prefer direct messages over emails.
2. Take action
Whether we are talking about trolls looking for attention or inappropriate speeches, problematic content must be removed fast. In fact, people expect negative comments to be addressed within an hour according to Emma Monks from Crisp Thinking. 2
To properly deal with this type of negative comments, people having access to the company’s social media should react according to a pre-established protocol. It may also be a good idea to establish and introduce community guidelines, if not already done, to justify deleting or hiding inappropriate activities. 3
Finally, if ignoring negative, yet not justified comments is not for you, appropriate use of humor is always a good way to generate positive conversations.
3. Use of social media monitoring tools
The two previous ways to deal with negative comments imply that you are aware rapidly of what people say on your social media.
Depending on the size of the community, it may be impossible to give the responsibility to employees to monitor negative comments. Using monitoring tools is then the obvious options to keep track of what people comment on your posts. While great free tools like Google Alerts may be good enough to alert you when people talk about your brand in a negative way, other more complete tools exists.
HubSpot Social Media Management Software, Sprout Social and many others allow one to both monitor and listen to what the communities have to say online. Instead of only be notified when somebody uses specific words when talking about your company, you can also keep track of what people say about it in general so you can be aware of the latest trends and opinions related to your brand. 4
In conclusion, brands should try to understand why negative reviews are posted at first and then deal with it accordingly. If the comment is legitimate, it’s important to learn from the mistakes the company may have made and understand how it impacted the customer’s experience and journey. Otherwise, be creative and use your company guidelines when dealing with negative comments on social media.
As seen in “How Social Media Comments Impact Sales: 14 Important Stats” posted on Brand Bastion by Lino de la Cruz.
From “The Rise of Negative Comments on Brand-Owned Social Media Ads” on Crisp Thinking’s blog by Emma Monks.
From “A Brand’s Guide to Dealing with Negative Comments Online” posted on Flagship Social’s blog by Tara Thayer.
Explained by HubSpot in “15 Best Social Listening Tools to Monitor Mentions of Your Brand”.