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Dealing With Negative Comments on Facebook

In this article, you'll find out how you can handle negative comments on Facebook and turn it into a positive and useful interaction.

You will learn

  • How quickly you should respond to a negative comment
  • How to monitor conversations online

At some point it is likely that the majority of businesses using social media are going to experience some kind of negativity or negative comments on their Facebook page from their audience.

The thing to remember when this does happen is that you are not just dealing with the individual who wrote the negative comment. Rather, you are, in effect, dealing with everybody who can potentially see that comment: the audience of your page, potential customers, etc. 

Responding To Different Types of Negative Comments

There will be times when a negative comment is actually constructive and your company can learn from it. In this event you should take heed of the comment, politely reply to it, and look to resolve it as quickly as possible all in a transparent and open way. Your audience is watching to see how you deal with this situation, and if dealt with in the correct way, they will love you even more than they already do.

business woman using her laptop to reply to negative comments on facebook 
There may even be situations where you can get the person who left the comment involved with what you are doing, especially if it is a technical issue, as perhaps that person has a solution for the situation.

However, occasionally a comment may be posted that is rude, abusive, or even just spam. Maybe somebody just wants to pick a fight or vent their frustration, and you unfortunately receive their wrath. In this instance, you should delete the comment as quickly as possible, and where necessary, ban that person. Negative comments left on your thread affect sales, so remove them immediately and head to ‘Private Messages’, emails or the phone if necessary. Do not begin to converse or engage with them in any way in public as this will do more harm than good.

As more and more businesses use Facebook and social media as their customer service response platform, it is worth noting that if you are unable to address a customer service complaint immediately, then rather than just ignoring it, try posting updates at regular intervals stating that you are working on the issue and what progress you are making. This will appease your audience far more than going dark for several hours whilst trying to solve the problem. Your customers will appreciate being kept up-to-date rather than feeling like they are being ignored. Of course every complaint is different, so look carefully at each individual one and decide the best way to deal with it.

Unhappy customers will spread the word that they are not happy with your company, but if you put in place a strategy to win them back, you will find that they will talk to far more people as a happy customer than they did as an unhappy one.

Monitoring Conversations

Having said all of the above, if you are not listening to what is being said about your business, then you will never know when they are unhappy. This means you can not reply or resolve their issues. Make sure you are monitoring your Facebook page and Twitter streams regularly, and set up things like 'Google Alerts' for your brand. Further, keep up to date on industry keywords to help you stay on top of what is being said.

If you have multiple people working your social media platforms make sure they all reply in the same authentic, sincere and human voice of your brand. This is especially important if you are receiving multiple complaints (which hopefully you are not). The last thing you want to happen is that different people answer the same issue with different answers. Having pre-written and pre-approved responses to use in this situation will help avoid this type of problem.

Whilst replying in a timely manner, offering a sincere apology with a legitimate solution will go a long way to appease most people. Take it in to account whether a comment is worth responding to, or whether just deleting it immediately should suffice. As mentioned earlier, some abusive or rude comments are just not worth responding to and should be deleted straight away, as getting in to a live online battle will do your brand more harm than good.

Response Times

Finally, as the commercial world gets ever faster, another area worth taking in to consideration is the time it takes your company to respond to online issues. Simply monitoring your Facebook page or Twitter stream regularly will help you pick up on issues as they arise, allowing you to deal with them quicker and hopefully helping to avoid them escalating in to something more than what they started out as. Facebook pages now publicly post what the average response time is of a page and according to HubSpot, "72% of people who complain on Twitter expect a response within an hour!"

We live in a fast world and gone are the days when the public wait for their complaint to be dealt with days later. Unfortunately, they expect brands to more or less deal with their complaints in real time. Monitoring your Facebook page and Twitter stream is vital to keep you ahead of the game. 

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Written by:

Rachel Moore

Social media expert

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