While social media can be a boon for most brands, it can also bring the ugly out of the woodworks. Unfortunately, negative comments are part of the deal when you advertise your brand on social media.

When you receive a nasty, negative, or otherwise yucky comment on social media, follow these 7 steps to ensure that you’re handling it with velvet gloves.

1. Read it once, twice and three times.

When you receive a negative comment, always make sure to remain level headed and read the comment through several times before responding.

This ensures that you do not respond out of anger or hot blood. Stay calm, cool, and collected while reading the comment. Take a break and come back to it with a fresh mind if you have to.

2. Ask someone else to read it.

If available, always ask someone else to read the comment. An outside perspective is always a great option and can keep you grounded.

3. Be professional.

When you do respond, remain professional and courteous no matter what. Adhere to your brand voice and ideals before everything else, and treat the commenter as if (s)he was standing right in front of you.

4. Provide your name and contact details.

Always provide your name and contact information, whether that be an email or a direct phone number. A disgruntled customer will always appreciate when a brand puts real faces forward when dealing with a crisis. Be real, be human and show them that you are.

5. Don’t offer freebies.

Don’t just fall back on offering freebies in response to a negative comment. Sometimes people just want to vent, and it doesn’t have anything to do with your brand or products.

So, don’t automatically offer free stuff…think of it as rewarding bad behavior.

6. Thank them for their feedback.

Whatever else, thank your commenter for their feedback. Be genuine.

If the comment stemmed from a legitimate issue, be sure to let them know that you will get to the root of the problem and contact them to let them know when it has been solved.

7. Proofread your response.

Before you hit send, always proofread your reply. There’s nothing worse than realizing that there’s a grammatical error in your response, or that you sound far too harsh. If available, ask someone to proofread your response also. It never hurts to have a second pair of eyes on it.

Receiving negative comments can suck, but if handled correctly they can turn a detractor into an advocate. Honestly, it works. Being truthful and genuine with your audience is the surest way to their hearts. Using these 7 simple steps to approaching and dealing with negative comments can help you get more insight into your customers and be seen as transparent.

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