5 ways to handle negative comments on social media

We all know the comment sections on social can be quite a handful. Our marketing intern Heidi Bordal has been handling the social media channels for one of the largest media companies in Sweden the last few years, which means she knows how to cool down heated discussions. Check out her 5 best tricks to keeping the comment section a happy place.

Not long ago, when customers felt the need to express disappointment or negative feedback to a company – they would call or send an email. Today, a brand’s Facebook or Instagram page is the go-to. And when customers turn to social media to vent, hundreds or even thousands might be watching. Social media is thus not only a place for customers to interact with brands they love – it’s a (sometimes unintentional) platform for customer service. Social media is obviously also a fantastic scene to get closer to your target audience.

As a social media communicator, I need to consider and balance both (at times reluctant) aspects. Here’s what I’ve learned:

1. The kill them with kindness approach works
Often, most human beings just want to be acknowledged. You don't have to take on every discussion, sometimes just telling someone their opinion matter, is enough. No matter the subject.

2. Prejudices are sometimes helpful
The word prejudices here should obviously be taken with a pinch of salt. But when communicating with an audience, I make sure my tone of voice is appropriate with the assumptions I receive by viewing someone’s profile. Their age, experience of social media, the product we sell, etc. Make sure to meet them halfway, in a sense. 

3. Being witty will get you a long way
Being humorous without being sarcastic online can be a bit tricky. The best way to find your tone of voice is by experimenting. Referring to people by their names and adding emojis or GIFs to your comments are easy ways to connect with your audience. Look for every opportunity to come across as personable, warm, and friendly.

4. When aware of an error or mistake – be humble
It’s easy to take on a defensive approach when realising there’s been a mistake. But on social media, evading an error only leads to a dead end. Instead, thank the customer for acknowledging and noticing the issue. A win-win as the customer comes forward as attentive – and yourself as humble.

5. Honor the service in customer service
The way to make your social platform an enjoyable place for your customers is by asking questions and replying as many comments as possible. The goal is to truly encourage a two-way conversation, rather than controlling an interaction in which only your messages comes across.

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