Social media is about conversations—not one-way messages. But what does the communication professional do in the face of negative comments?
Start by determining if the comment is:
- A troll—someone who lives to bash?
- A rant?
- A joke?
- Factually incorrect?
- Factually correct?
- Likely from a rival?
Each of these types of comments require a different response. Here are some options to consider:
- Ignore the comment. If it’s obviously ridiculous, it will be clear to other readers.
- Remove the comment. Use this when there’s clearly no benefit to engaging in a conversation, if it’s inappropriate—or if it’s anonymous. You’re not required to provide a platform for someone who won’t even identify him/herself.
- Take the conversation off-line. Use this to explore the problem and resolve it for that individual, if it’s likely an outlier rather than a frequently occurring event.
- Correct the facts. Use this when the facts are likely to change reasonable readers’ opinions.
- Explain the facts. Use this when background might be helpful.
- Restate your position. Sometimes there’s an opportunity to convey your core values in a comment.
- Fix the problem and report on the improvement. Nothing encourages loyalty like an organization that is truly trying to improve, and willing to listen to its customers.
- Apologize. We all make mistakes. Sometimes owning them and offering a heartfelt apology is all a person wants.
- Commend the post. Use this when the feedback has been helpful, and has resulted in an improvement.
What effective responses to negative comments have you seen?