Julia Ruane
Julia Ruane 29 January 2018

How to deal with negative comments on social media

It's a fact. You will get negative engagement on your brand's social posts. Left unaddressed, this can damage your brand’s reputation, product sales, and social conversations. Here's how you can address negative comments and boost your positive engagement.

Let’s face facts. Unless every single person on social media is a 100% loyal fan with no complaints about your brand, then you ARE going to get negative engagement.

Left unaddressed, or managed badly, this negative engagement can have damaging effects on your brand’s reputation, product sales, and the hard work you put into social conversations.

The good news is that you can address this. And the result will be that your positive engagement increases. Win-win.

What do you need to look out for?

Negative engagement can take many forms. It can be swearing left in posts on your pages. It can be innocent looking emojis being paired or strung together. It could be 'banter’ between followers that’s becoming abusive. Or perhaps negative comments on your social adverts discrediting the product you’re promoting, linking to websites selling fakes, or attacking your brand’s credibility.

Social media risks - profanity, personal attack, spam,

Just one or two of these inappropriate or unsafe comments can spiral out of control if left unmanaged on your social channels, especially if made by an influencer (just look what happened to coffee machine maker, Keurig).  

Is looking at our owned social media channels enough?

No, not if you want to spot an issue quickly. It’s important to keep a close eye on mentions of your brand across social media, the wider web, and review sites in particular. Do you know if people are complaining about your brand? Is your brand mentioned in a trending joke? Or have you just missed a great opportunity (like Red Lobster did with Beyoncé)?

Whether these comments are on the social accounts that you own, or on third-party websites, if they are not being monitored, you are opening your brand up to reputational damage.

How can I protect my brand from negative engagement?

You may already have social media management software in place to manage mentions and co-ordinate responses. This sort of software is good at proactively building an online community and relationships with your followers.

The key to successfully managing negative engagement however, is to act quickly as damaging posts can be easily lost within a complex, busy dashboard. Many social media management software tools will monitor your social channels 24/7, but as they alert you to risks within the dashboard or via email, these tools are only effective when you are monitoring your inboxes (not when you’re in bed, a meeting or on a lunch break). It’s also important to note that software tools monitor for keywords, so as your inbox fills with profanity alerts, you can very easily miss a spiralling customer complaint or a PR crisis.

To quickly catch these hugely damaging risks, you need a social media risk management service that works alongside your existing tools, and includes moderation by humans to detect and deal with negative issues within minutes. This ensures that the nuance of the risk is understood in context and the most important issues are escalated to you directly, not lost in a feed. 

By doing this you can free up your team to focus more on positive engagement than on firefighting, providing reassurance that you are always dealing with the right issues at the right time.

In summary – how do you deal with negative comments?

Here are some tips on what to do from the experts:

1) Monitor your brand’s own social accounts for inappropriate content. The simplest way to do this is using a 24/7 managed moderation service that is trained to spot the dangers quickly and has human moderators to act on your behalf – whether that is removing the content, hiding it from other followers, blocking the account or escalating it to your team.

2) Monitor the wider web to keep a close eye on what people are saying about your brand, product and service. While you can't remove, hide or block this content, it provides valuable insights into what people really think of your brand. A good social media risk monitoring service will spot and report trends on what is being discussed in real time, so you can either join in (if it's positive) or address an issue (if it’s not). Either way, a sophisticated social media risk monitoring service helps you stay aware and get involved quickly when you need to.

3) Regularly check what people are saying on review sites. Ratings and reviews don't often come up in wider web searches so you need a specific service that can trawl through these sites. Negative reviews can dramatically bias your brand's reputation online. You need to be aware of what is being said in reviews so you can spot a problem and respond quickly.

These services will protect your brand reputation around the clock. What’s more, social media risk management is an effective way to discover far wider opportunities to positively engage with your audience in the online places they naturally log in to – and you can enjoy all these advantages without putting in any extra hours.

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