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5 Ways to Deal with Negativity on Social Media

Agree within the company what to do with the negativity on social networks. To stop it before it becomes a problem for your business.

Everyone has negative comments on social media, whether you're a brand or an individual. What matters is how you deal with them. You can not ignore the negative, it harms the brand and repels customers.

According to ReviewTrackers, 94% of consumers say that a bad review caused them to abandon the purchase. That's why you need guidance on how to shoot negativity. This five-point instruction will help you. But first subscribe to our Telegram channel, we often publish useful articles!

1. Always respond to negative comments

Should you respond to every comment you receive? Sure. Maintain public relations and build a personal and business brand; to do this, you will inevitably have to interact with customers in both positive and negative circumstances.

From the comments, you will understand what subscribers think about your brand and your content. This will allow you to communicate more thoughtfully with them.

Rosie Hall, public relations and communications manager at Hable, agrees with this approach and says, "My policy regarding negative comments on social media has always been to respond to them quickly, apologize, and then try to remove them from public access. And solve problems privately. We don't remove negative comments – it can make people even more angry. Remove the comment and people decide that your brand has something to hide."

The Royal Bank of Canada's response team on Twitter, instead of defending themselves, is using sympathy and offering help.

Keep an eye on the psychological health of your social media manager. From negative but fair customer reviews to blatantly unfair or inflammatory troll comments is one step.

Negativity is natural. If a rude comment hurts you, talk to someone on your team or friends. As personal as the comment may seem, the commentator doesn't know you. Be confident in yourself, focus on the positives and let the negative ones disappear.

2. Determine how to respond to different types of negative comments

Develop a set of standards on how to respond to incoming notifications and messages. Your team will understand how quickly they should respond and use boilerplate answers to frequently asked questions.

Stephanie Gutierrez, senior social media strategist at marketing agency Online Optimism, talks about their system and how they solve communication problems, especially when it comes to negativity. Stephanie says, "At our agency, we issue a Communications Guide for each client at the beginning of our partnership. This allows us to plan any posts or comments we expect to receive on social media, good or bad, so we are ready to respond in a timely manner."

Here are a few steps to create standards for your social media communication with Stephanie's advice.

  • Determine what questions your customers most often have, what positive and negative reviews they tend to leave. Stephanie recommends asking your salesperson/team about this. Browse your social media profiles to see what questions and comments you've been written to in the past.
  • Plan a few responses to the negative comments you expect. For example, if someone can't contact your support team or if someone's order was incorrect, having multiple replies won't make users feel like you're copying and pasting the same message for everyone.
  • Update your templates from time to time to keep them up-to-date and don't seem outdated. If a question or comment appears that wasn't in your guide, come up with an answer to be ready for next time.
  • Address the answers in a personalized way, address the person by name. Acknowledge the problem the customer is facing and reassure them that you want to fix it. Personalized messages help customers feel heard. Nike's customer service team took personalization to the next level by offering customers help find exactly the product they were looking for.

In addition to Stephanie's advice, here are a few other practices:

  • Repeat your harassment policy frequently on your social media account.
  • Use the BIFF structure in your response (concise, informative, friendly, and firm).
  • Ignore comments and don't respond unless you definitely need to.
  • Block the person if it's a troll.

Make sure every employee knows how to handle negativity in your communication channels, even if they don't normally interact with customers. This way, everyone in your organization knows how to act in difficult situations.

3. Respond on time

Rafał Mlodski, CEO of Passport Photo Online, argues that the main thing about how you react to negative comments on social media is time. People expect a quick response when something goes wrong, and social media allows customers around the world (and in different time zones) to write to you around the clock. If there is no answer, it is a signal that you do not care about the opinion of your customers.

At Buffer, you have extensive experience responding quickly to messages. Marketers and lawyers have access to our social media accounts, so they respond quickly to users.

However, if you don't have the money for round-the-clock support, give customers a time frame when you answer questions.

4. Counter negativity with facts, not emotions

Deal with facts when faced with a negative comment.

If your brand is wrong, sincerely apologize and offer a solution to the affected customer. When someone writes to get a reaction from you or your audience, Logan Mallory, vice president of Motivosity, recommends not reacting.

Logan says, "There's a difference between restless and instigators. Respond to negative comments when someone directly expresses concern, but when it comes to comments that are a challenge to discussion, it's best not to touch them. The answer will do no good and may simply cause the person posting these comments to continue to pour out bile."

But it won't always work. Some of the users will feel something is wrong.

If you need to refute false information, operate with facts. Don't answer the troll directly – your answer shouldn't be addressed to him. Instead, leave a comment that will clear up any confusion that may arise. This Mazda dealership defended itself by publishing the steps they took to address a customer complaint by effectively closing the issue.

Find out what works for different situations – ignore or respond with facts.

5. Always report harassment

There is a fine line between criticism and outright harassment. If someone makes you or your followers feel uncomfortable or even threatens you on social media, don't hesitate to report it to the police.

Learn how large sites report abusive behavior. Think about whether to block substance abuse accounts, highlight them so your lawyer and community are aware of them.

Create a post about the rules of conduct and pin it to your profile. When someone behaves inappropriately, you will have an excuse for sanctions.

Develop a positive relationship with your community

Social media has the power to bring the world together. Unfortunately, sometimes it's a world of negativity. The brand has to deal with this as they grow and attract more attention.

Stay positive when interacting with trolls on social media, encourage healthy engagement with the core of your community. David Bitton, chief marketing officer at DoorLoop, completely ignores correspondence that can cause conflict. Especially if the conversation doesn't do any good to achieving your business goals on social media.

You need to create a supportive environment where people feel safe. Have an honest dialogue, listen, ask questions and express your point of view respectfully.