Thumbs Up: Best practices for handling comments on social media

Spend enough time on social media, and you’re going to see it all — the good and the bad. Sometimes, a customer will brighten your day with an awesome review of the services you work so hard to provide. Other times, someone will make a comment that gets under your skin and fuels an incredible urge to smash the reply button and tell that person exactly what you think of them in a flurry of flying thumbs. 

Modern shoppers expect a business to be engaged on social media, so here are some tips to help you build a positive online community and deal with negative comments in a way that can help you improve your relationship with your customers while keeping your comments section from becoming a warzone.

When to Respond

A wild comment has appeared! That’s right, your latest upbeat and engaging post has been invaded by a nasty little negative comment. It’s throwing off the whole vibe. It’s going to happen sooner or later, so how do you know if you should take action and respond directly?

  • We all mess up. If the complaint is valid, ignoring it or deleting it might not be the best course of action. If you think people will wonder whether you’re hiding something if you aren’t responding, it’s probably best to reply in some way.
  • If you feel like you need to say “I’m Sorry”, then it’s likely that an apology is the correct response. Be sure, however, not to make false promises and remain realistic about how you’re going to resolve the issue. 
  • If someone seems genuinely confused or mistaken, it’s OK to clarify or correct when someone has the wrong idea about you.
  • Also respond to positive comments. A simple “thanks” or a more personalized response will go a long way to building your brand as a positive, engaging online presence. Fun emojis and gifs work great here too.

When to Ignore

On the other hand, sometimes you’ll get a real head-scratcher. If you’re facing an online troll, you don’t need to put up with it, and neither do your other followers who probably feel the same way you do. Just hit that “hide comment” button and move on.

  • Hide comments that have no legitimacy and don’t reflect any real situation or issue, or any comments with profanity, harassment, threats, etc. that you don’t want appearing on your page.
  • The same goes for internet trolls who leave negative comments for the sole purpose of triggering an emotional reaction. Trolls don’t care how you feel, and responding to them will only make it worse. Hide or delete these comments, and don’t feed the trolls. 

How to Respond

If you receive a complaint on social media, picture yourself dealing face-to-face with the customer. Chances are you’re not making a loud, public spectacle. Instead, you take that customer aside, talk about why they’re unhappy, and offer something to help them feel better about doing business with you. Try to respond the same way on social media.

  • Respond quickly. Make it a point to follow up with negative comments as soon as possible to show people that you’re open to discussing the issue. 
  • Be positively polite. Take the high road so things don’t escalate, and show your followers that you’ve got a level head even when someone else may not. Stay cool and avoid getting defensive.
  • Ask them to reach out to you privately if you don’t think it can be resolved quickly in the comments section. Respond with a comment that asks for them to contact you privately to discuss. This shows everyone that you’re willing to address the issue without making your conversation public for all to see. It’s a win-win.

Final Thoughts from the My Buckhannon Marketing Team

Social media can be a great way to build your business, no matter the industry. It’s an engaging and often rewarding way to interact with your customers. Have fun and stay positive, as your followers will likely follow the vibe established by your business.

When you do face negativity, stay focused on resolving problems or clearing up misinformation. Hide the trolls and address legitimate comments quickly and publicly, and resolve privately if necessary. Responding quickly and consistently builds credibility and trust. You may even learn something about how you can best serve your customers too!

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