Everyone knows social media isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. The social part of it is wonderful for cultivating relationships with your customers. However, it’s also a public platform for people to post criticism—whether or not they’re an actual customer. Bad reviews are tough, but 45% of people say that they’d buy from a brand that addresses negative reviews. So how can your brand deal with negative comments?
5 Tips for Dealing With Negative Comments
1. Don’t delete negative comments.
Didn’t hear us the first time? Don’t delete negative comments. You’ll get called out for not being trustworthy or transparent. Do you like it when you have a friend who is acting like everything is fine with things really aren't? No? Well that's how consumers will feel about your brand if you're always sweeping negative comments under the rug. The better option - responding! However, we absolutely encourage deleting comments that use inappropriate or hateful language. If it couldn't be read on the nightly news, it probably doesn't need to live on your Instagram feed.
2. Respond publicly and professionally.
Ignoring negative comments can be just as bad as deleting them. Respond in a timely manner (once your anger or defensiveness has cooled down). Thank them for the feedback, apologize briefly, take responsibility, and move forward to offer a solution. This can be something like, “We’re sorry your experience didn’t meet your expectations. Please give us a call as we would love to make it up to you.” Here are a few more great examples of how to respond to negative reviews.
3. Address the issue privately.
After you’ve acknowledged the comment publicly, reach out to the person privately via DM, email, or phone call. Providing personal attention will make the customer feel heard and let them know your response to their comment wasn't just for show.
4. Know when to walk away.
A “troll” is basically an online bully—someone who comments to deliberately upset others. If you notice someone trolling your brand’s social media, recognize that engaging in a public argument is exactly what they’re looking for. This is an example of when (after a point) it’s okay to ignore or delete comments. If this becomes a recurring issue, you can report or block the user from seeing/interacting with your profile.
5. Learn from your mistakes.
Sometimes we need to remember that brands are made up of humans. And, as humans, we make mistakes. The best thing we can do is learn and grow from these experiences. Ignoring negative feedback won’t make it go away. Use it to strengthen your brand’s integrity and ability to serve your target audience.
Brands can learn from each and every customer's experience. Their experience is truthful to them. Learning from their shared experiences (especially the negative ones!) and applying that knowledge to your brand’s offerings, operations, and marketing can be incredibly helpful. Our best advice when you receive a negative comment? Take a breath before you respond. Maybe even get a second opinion before tapping "comment." Taking a beat to reply thoughtfully will allow the customer to feel heard, your brand to look professional, and your relationship to begin to repair. Transparency and sincerity will make your brand likable, adaptive, and enduring - and who doesn't want those things for their brand?