How to Handle Negative Comments and Feedback on Social Media

Having a social media presence opens you up to negative comments and feedback that you may not have had to face offline. The Internet is a big place, and someone out there is bound to be dissatisfied with what you have to offer. Dealing with those comments can become overwhelming and time-consuming. Here are some tips to help alleviate some of the stress involved with handling negative comments and feedback on social media.

Is the criticism constructive?

The first question you want to ask yourself upon receiving criticism on social media is whether or not it is constructive. Is the user expressing a valid, specific concern? Is he or she complaining that a service or product of yours is not working properly, or criticizing an aspect of your website that can and should be addressed? If so, pass on the information to the appropriate department so that the problem may be addressed. But don’t sweat the small stuff. People are going to complain; it comes with the territory of an online social presence. You simply cannot please everyone, but you can listen to and consider feedback that will help you improve your business and connect with your audience.

Know when and how to address the comment

It is important to know when and how to address a comment. The point of social media is to connect with your audience, so you can’t ignore the comments you wish would disappear. Ideally, you should always respond to negative feedback. Depending on how much time you are able to devote to your social media presence, establish a rule on how many users you are willing to respond to per day. Choose those users based on the questions you answered above. If the user is expressing a valid concern in a clear, reasonable manner, reply to the user; apologize and offer a solution.  If the user is being vulgar, disrespectful to others and irate, it’s best to take the conversation offline.  Simply comment with your customer service information or ask that they send you a private message so that you may handle the situation immediately.

Make your audience feel valued

When responding to comments, be sure to make the user feel valued, understood, and appreciated. Again, do not challenge the user. Apologize, admit any mistakes, and promise to work on fixing the situation. This can happen on a large scale as well, by addressing your entire audience via a status update or Tweet. The best way to make your audience feel valued is to show real change, and to showcase how their feedback has helped your business improve.

Know when to walk away

Sometimes the negative feedback feels endless, and the process of assessing those comments can be overwhelming, especially if you have a high volume of traffic to your page. Remember that someone is always going to be unhappy, and you can only do your best to make necessary changes. Don’t take negative feedback personally, and know when to step away from the computer to clear your head.

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