5 Golden rules for dealing with negative comments on social media

As a PR team we are always encouraging our clients to embrace social media and to make it work for them. That doesn’t mean that you need to rush out and sign up to SnapChat and Whatsapp just so you’re keeping up with the latest social media trends, instead we suggest that you look at your audience profile and identify the social media platforms they are most likely to be active on.

Of course many companies have reservations about using social media – after all, it encourages interaction. Whilst most of the conversations will help you to raise your profile and tell your story, there will be occasions when people feel the need to ask questions or give feedback and that won’t always be positive.  Negative feedback isn’t necessarily something to be dreaded. In fact, if you handle it in the right way, the vast majority of your online audience will appreciate your efforts. So here’s our quick five-step guide to help you when responding to a negative online post...

1.     Respond quickly

This is definitely the most important rule. You must ALWAYS respond and as quickly as possible. This can be something as simple as asking for contact details of the person but a response is vital. Do you need to inform someone internally before responding? Make sure your internal process is in place and can swing into action – quickly!

2.     Don’t retaliate

Resorting to rudeness will absolutely not help the situation. You may feel that the person is being out of order or unnecessarily difficult but customer service rules still apply when dealing with someone via social media.

3.     Take the conversation offline

Try to take the conversation offline as soon as possible by offering to phone the person or contact them another way. Lots of comments back and forth will keep the particular post at the top of news feeds, which we do not want.

4.     Don’t delete posts

Nothing is more irritating than complaining to a company and find they have just deleted your post. It smacks of guilt too.

5.     Stay consistent

If you have more than one member of staff who deals with social media make sure responses stay the same. It is no good one member of staff saying the problem was due to one thing and another member of staff stating another cause. Make sure the tone of all posts match up with the company tone of voice and that all staff are briefed on how to respond.

Of course, every post is different and will require a different response but with the right process in place you can really help to protect, and even enhance, your company’s reputation.