As a Social Media Manager I have had my fair share of negative social media comments. Perhaps I have had several people’s share of negative social media comments! My latest article How to respond to negative social media comments takes a look at when you need to respond to negative comments on your social media networks and how to do it.
So let’s take a look at the type of negative comments you might get on your pages and how you can respond.
1. Genuine Complaint
A genuine complaint is from a client or potential client who has experienced problems with your product or service. Often he will visit social media networks after he fails to get a response from your customer care division or head office. Your first reaction as a social media manager might be to delete his comment… after all… he is spoiling your shiny new promotion right? Wait… never delete genuine complaints from your page, simply handle them differently.
How To Respond
Always respond to a genuine complaint, remember it is better that he complaints to your face than behind your back…. right? I will usually aim to divert the complaint to a private message so I may say something like “Thanks for reaching out, please can you drop us a private message so we can help you to resolve this”. By doing this you are acknowledging the client whilst also aiming to divert him away from your main page where he may dissuade other fans. Does it work? Yes usually it does unless you have a really angry client on your hands in which case you may need to read point 4.
2. Gentle Brand Criticism
Brand criticism has a number of levels and it is important not to have a trigger happy approach to deleting and blocking on your page. Everyone is entitled to their opinion and as a social media manager you have to be ready to hear it. Not everyone will love your brand and you just have to accept that! An example of gentle brand criticism might be “Charli Says sucks…I hate her writing”. This is not a profane comment and should not be deleted initially.
How To Respond
Ok … I don’t love this comment but I respect your opinion. If the criticism is along these lines I would be tempted to reply with “I’m sorry to hear that… Anything I can do to change your mind?” and then listen to the response. Remember that listening to feedback may work in your favour as you can learn how to improve your services. If the brand criticism is slanderous, aggressive or inflammatory then you may wish to take alternative action such as a warning, deletion of the comment or a complete block.
Remember my article “Don’t Feed The Trolls”? Well seriously don’t feed them! Trolls thrive on disrupting threads, picking arguments with other users and trying to divide and conquer. Most big brands ignore trolls on threads and simply let them wear themselves out. A troll might visit a thread talking about fashion to start hurling insults at plus size individuals on the page. They may make an inflammatory comment such as “All fat people should be killed“. Remember that they are not talking to your brand specifically, they are trying to cause controversy among other fans.
How To Respond
Monitor your troll in silence and pay attention to what he is saying. You should not intervene in a conversation unless you feel that users are actually asking you a question… nobody wants a big brother brand butting into their conversation! If the troll reverts to profanity then you will need to step in with a deletion or a block- see point 4.
Spam could be a competitor posting their product links to your page or advertising a product that is unrelated to your page or the thread. This can be deleted immediately and I would also block the user. I once deleted a spam comment without blocking the user and woke up the next day to find he had reposted on 500 other threads on my page.,.. true story! Profanity includes swearing, racism, homophobia, hatred or personal insults and cannot be tolerated.
How To Respond
As I said, I delete all spam posts immediately from my pages and block users. When it comes to profanity then consider the situation. If you are dealing with an angry customer or genuine complaint which has slipped into profanity then you might want to kindly remind him to moderate his language. If the comment is part of a heated discussion on the page and includes a swear word then consider letting it slide. If however, the comment is hateful or personal towards another member then delete and block… you don’t need fans like this on your page. Remember that page guidelines help to set the tone for how you expect your page users to behave. See CocoCola’s as an example. If you have page rules you can then draw attention to them if you need to step in.