How to React to Negative Comments on Social Sites
by Julie Weishaar
May 10, 2024
How to React to Nasty Comments on Social Sites

Reacting to negative comments online requires a blend of tact and strategy.

Whether you’re a brand manager or a social influencer, the impact of these comments can be substantial.

People come in all different sizes and shapes. They also come with different levels of maturity, professionalism and tact.

Some people lack tact, are unprofessional, and have no problem broadcasting their character on social platforms.

Let’s discuss several options that can help you respond to criticism in a way that reflects your values and strengthens your connection with your audience.

What Are Your Options?

So, what should you do when you meet such a person on a social networking site? Well, that depends.

If you want to be viewed by others as immature and unprofessional, then you can respond in like to their comments.

However, if you would like to maintain professionalism, that would not be a good idea.

So, how should you respond to negative social media comments?

Be Sure to Respond Promptly

Angry or upset customers will not react well to waiting too long for a response. Or, even worse, being ignored.

Responding quickly shows customers that they matter. Additionally, other followers will see your prompt response and know that your brand is paying attention and you care.

Count to Three Before Replying to Negative Comments

The first thing to do is sit back, take a deep breath and DON’T write anything immediately.

If you do, your response will likely fall into the category of a “reaction” that is emotionally based and not thought-out.

Do not lose your cool. Even though we have been told that the customer is always right, they are often not.

However, remember that your company’s reputation is at risk if you respond hastily or inappropriately.

If a customer is unreasonable and rude, others will recognize their behavior and focus more on how you respond.

Try to be understanding when you address their concerns. Do your best to resolve their problems or issues.

Unfortunately, some people will never be satisfied, and you can do nothing to please them.

Respond Publicly to Negative Feedback

Responding publicly to positive and negative comments or feedback helps build transparency, accountability, and trust.

Let others see how professional you are in how you respond and that you care about how your customers feel.

This will send a message to current and future customers that they, too, can expect a response from you should they have a question, problem, or concern.

However, there are times when you might need or want to take the conversation offline.

Try Taking the Conversation Offline

Getting into a pissing contest, arguing, or lowering yourself to an unreasonable customer will only make the situation worse.

Try to encourage the unhappy customer to continue the conversation offline.

You could say something like, “We are sorry to hear about your issue,” and suggest they send you a direct message with their contact information and experience details.

This way, customer service can work directly with you to resolve your concern.

Act Like a Human, Not a Bot, When Responding to Negative Comments

Consumers can tell if they are talking to a human or a bot. Do not make the mistake of using canned responses and superficial empathy so that you appear to be a robot.

Be sure to validate concerns by acknowledging how the person is feeling.

Repeating what they are feeling back to them is an excellent way to show you understand and care.

However, do not linger on the apologizing too long. Move quickly towards a solution.

Do Not Just Delete Negative Comments

Although it might be tempting to delete negativity towards your brand, it can hurt you in the long run.

The person with the complaint will probably get even angrier and will likely post his negatively in a place you cannot delete.

Deleting comments makes it look like you have something to hide or do not care. There are exceptions to this rule.

If someone uses profanity or is spamming your site or page, it is OK to delete them.

Personalize Your Responses to Negative Comments

Avoid using generic cut-and-paste responses. People will notice if you reply to every negative comment the same way.

This will make your brand appear inauthentic and insincere.

Highlight Positive Comments

Remember to acknowledge positive comments, show gratitude, and tell your customers how much you appreciate them.

Happy customers will share their experience with your brand with others who trust them.

You also want to be sure there are as many, or hopefully more, positive versus negative comments.

Monitor All Your Comments

Be sure to pay attention to and monitor all the comments made on your blog or social media feeds. You do not want to miss those pesky negative comments.

Final Thoughts on How to Handle Negative Comments

Try your best to resolve negative comments constructively. Do your best not to lose sight of what your brand stands for, and let it show when you communicate with your followers and customers.

We have all had negative experiences with companies one or more times in our lives.

Put yourself in your customer’s shoes by remembering how you felt when you were the angry one.

Use that perspective when dealing with negative comments about your business.

In life and business, we cannot control what others do or how they behave.

We can only control our behaviors and how we react to theirs.

Originally published July 22, 2010; republished 1/14/21 to update content. Republished again on May 10, 2024, to update content again and add video.

How to React to Negative Comments on Social Sites

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5 Comments

  1. jweishaar

    Angie, I can always count on your great responses – thank you. 🙂 You are absolutely right about ignoring and moving on if your attempt doesn't work. Great point.

    Actually i was being judged BY the content which is silly – what I wrote and the fact that I thought a video was funny said more about me than the content of the article. OK – time to move on.

    Reply
  2. Michael Cohn

    Well this specific situation is even worse. The attacker is a person that I know and part of a group I belong to that meet on a weekly basis in person. She posted nasty comments in two separate groups on LinkedIn attacking Julie, myself, and my wife.
    After bringing to her attention that she made a mistake and refered to the wrong person instead of the original author, she continued to expresss he ignorance of social media etiquettes and continued to attack all 3 of us.
    This is a person that claim to be a writer and was on our list of candidates to invite to be our guest blogger. Now that she showed us who she really is, she lost a good opportunity to promote herself.

    Reply
  3. jweishaar

    Michael, this is a perfect example of "time to move on" right? Thanks for your response 🙂

    Reply
  4. Susan Fronk

    Great article, Julie!
    As you wise enough to know, we grow from our mistakes and most painful experiences, not the triumphant ones.
    Many years ago, I was filmed during a job search workshop that I was conducting and forgot to take my microphone off when I went to the bathroom. As if that wasn't embarrassing enough, the audio track captured a remark I made saying that no one was going to find a job on the internet (smile).
    Susan

    Reply
  5. Julie Weishaar

    LOL Susan. That sounds like something I would do!  May I assume that your workshop included getting a job on the Internet? And here we are discussing it on the world wide web. I am sure that you conducted your workshop before the Internet revolution right?

    Thanks for the laugh – I needed that 🙂

    Reply

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