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Beware of Negative Nancy: 8 Tips for Handling Negative Comments in Social Media

Managing your online presence is essential in any situation. One negative comment can negate 20 good ones, so it’s important to make sure that any negative comments or reviews online are handled properly. Here are eight tips for handling these situations.

1. Address whether or not to take the problem offline. Many review systems are built for responses to be seen by everyone. Most times, a short response is adequate. On a site like Facebook or Twitter, filling the feed with details of one individual’s concerns would be annoying, so it’s best to take that offline. Personal preference is obviously important, so following what feels right for your brand is essential.

2. It is vital to understand the problem that the review addresses. Figuring out if it is an isolated or widespread event is also important to establishing relevance. If there are multiple complaints about the same issue, then there is obviously an overarching problem that needs to be fixed.

3. Turn it into a positive customer service experience. Every negative situation presents an opportunity to make a positive one. Put your best foot forward in trying to rectify the problem. Most people are simply looking for an apology, but many times throwing in a little extra can be a tipping point. For example, crediting someone their wifi fee because they experienced slow service may be a small act for your brand, but it can go a long way for that individual consumer.

4. Always double-check any post for defensive language. Re-read all of your responses and make sure they read cordially and professionally. Readers can really tell the difference in a sincere brand response and one that was written in haste. This is especially important in correcting an error. In the case of slander, it is best to keep the response as simple and polite as possible and provide any applicable information.

5. Regardless of any negativity, you should always thank the individual for their comments, reviews or concerns. Remember that they took time to provide you with information you might not have otherwise been aware of.

6. In any case, if the review deems a more extensive response, always provide an alternative contact method or make sure that one can easily be found.

7. Keep it consistent. In all of your online presences, make sure that there is consistency. If you are going to add a signature to a response, add it to all of them. If you want your Facebook page to have different “voices,” then make them obvious. For example, our friends over at Social Media Examiner always say who wrote a post.

8. Timeliness. There is no doubt that when it comes to social media, immediacy is a huge consideration. Reviews, complaints, etc. should be answered in a timely manner. A final thought, take the channel into consideration; a tweet should be picked up faster than a Tripadvisor review. Example: The folks over at Lululemon went out in full force during the “see-through” yoga pant scandal, responding to all tweets with specific instructions on how to exchange any item.

If your brand needs help with its reputation management, contact The Brandon Agency. And share how you manage negative posts in the comments below.