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Navigating Negative Social Media Comments

Social media has done so many great things for businesses. It’s allowed us to connect with customers on a more personal level while also giving us a platform to promote events, special offers and other important information with our followers. Social media platforms are a place where you can readily humanize your brand and show everyone that there are real people just like them behind the curtain.

Unfortunately, as a business, sometimes you have to deal with the challenge of a negative comment on your public social media page. You can’t avoid them, they happen to even the best of businesses.

You can, however, handle them properly.

Here are some tips to help your business handle negative social media comments with class.

Address the comment in a timely manner. Make sure your notifications are turned on and respond to comments within 12 hours. The sooner you can address it, the more likely it is you will avoid a pile up of comments.

Empathize with the commenter but be careful not to patronize them. Lead with things like, “I’m so sorry this has been your experience,” or, “I know if I was in your situation I would be upset as well.” Show the commenter that you truly hear them and understand their perspective. Try to put yourself in their shoes, even if their complaint seems irrational.

Move the conversation to a private location. Tell them to call you directly at {insert business phone number here} so you can address the matter further. In some cases it’s appropriate to ask if they can stop back in to speak to you directly. This is important and shows that you are open to feedback and care about a resolution.

If you must, you can clearly and concisely state your side of the issue in one sentence. Just be careful that you don’t come off defensive or rude. Your goal is not to add fuel to the fire or shift blame. This requires a lot of self discipline when you feel someone is attacking your business but it’s very important to show restraint in these situations. What you don’t want is for their singular comment to become a bigger back and forth that shines more light on what went wrong.


• Don’t ignore the comment, show followers you are listening and that you care
• Don’t get aggressive or defensive in your response.
• Don’t post a canned response, be authentic
• Don’t offer anything for free in your response

At ReThinc, we are often asked, “is it ok if I just hide this comment?” My answer is, it depends. Is the comment offensive, off color or completely unrelated to your business? Hide away, and maybe think about adding a “block” on that person as well.

A robust social media presence can be a boost for every business. Managing social media can literally be a full time job. Posting timely, relevant and unique content enhances your brand while helping you to stay top of mind with your customer base. We have a team of experts in our digital department that does these things for many of the clients we serve.

If you’re looking for some guidance or assistance on what you’re doing socially, shoot us a DM @rethinc.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR – Stephanie Olsen is the principal of ReThinc Advertising and Public Relations. Her primary responsibilities at ReThinc can be summed up by the word “everything.” Learn more about her here, click here.

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