Modern consumers have the need for speed. They expect immediate responses to their queries, problems and feedback. The longer it takes for your business to respond, the more likely a customer will leave.
So when users leave comments on your social media posts, it’s best to respond as soon as possible. But when it comes to negative comments, it may take some time to craft an appropriate answer.
Some negative comments on social media can be excessively harsh, driving brands to consider ignoring or deleting them. But in some cases, removing negative comments can do more harm than good.
According to Microsoft’s Global State of Customer Service Report, 54% of respondents had a more favorable view of brands that addressed customer service complaints or questions on social media. Not responding to negative comments on social media can give your followers the impression that you have something to hide. Even worse, avoiding or deleting negative comments on social media may seem like you’re indifferent to your customers’ concerns.
You can’t control what people post online, but you can control how you react to them. If negative social media comments are unavoidable, how should you reply publicly and politely? And when is it acceptable to delete social media comments and move on? In this guide, we discuss how to deal with negative comments on social media and when it’s okay to remove them.
Why Social Media Comments Are Important
Establishing a social media presence is a great way to build engagement and trust. It also creates a forum where customers can provide genuine feedback about your brand.
While social media allows you to hear directly from your followers, it also exposes you to the risk of receiving negative comments. How you handle adverse comments on social media says volumes about your brand values and how much you care about your customers.
Not all negative comments will damage your brand. Sometimes, negative feedback can be learning opportunities. Knowing what your customers say about your brand can help you turn unsatisfied customers into loyal ones. When users leave negative feedback, it means there’s still a chance for you to mend the damaged relationship and maintain a solid following.
A complete lack of negative social comments may put off some customers. Retaining positive and negative mentions on your social media channels can make your brand appear more authentic and trustworthy as long as you respond promptly and efficiently.
When Is It Acceptable To Delete Social Media Comments?
As a brand, you’re responsible for your social media presence, from content creation to review monitoring. You’ll want to build an engaging, credible, user-friendly space where people respect each other. But no matter how much you monitor your social channels, negative comments sometimes end up on your page without warning.
As a rule of thumb, deleting negative comments on social media should be a last resort. However, there are certain exceptions to that rule.
If the Comment Is Offensive and Sparks Hate
Delete comments that are racist, sexist, homophobic or otherwise offensive to any of your audience members. Any kind of threat, bullying or hate speech aimed toward an individual or community fuels intolerance and violence. Because everyone can hide behind a fake online profile, losing all sense of decency and respect is easier. Know that you have the right to delete social media comments that could harm other people.
Offensive social comments can also damage your business. According to a survey, 48% of the respondents stated that a brand’s response to hate speech and racism significantly influences their purchase decisions. Removing hurtful comments from your page shows that your brand does not tolerate prejudiced and rude behavior.
If the Comment Includes Crude and Suggestive Language
Obscenities and profanities have no place in online social channels. Lewd comments can hurt your brand image and send the wrong message to your audience.
Facebook offers a profanity filter that allows social media managers to moderate social comments on their ads and posts. You don’t need to input specific keywords you want to block. It automatically detects words and phrases commonly marked offensive by the community.
If the Comment Contains Spammy Links
Spam is any unwanted message that’s distributed to a large audience. Some people take advantage of a social media page’s high following by posting spam comments. They try to boost their websites’ traffic by including unsolicited ads and sketchy links in their comments.
Ensure your public commenting policy strictly prohibits messages containing product promotions, petition solicitations, direct sales pitches and political campaigning. Accounts that you suspect of being spam bots can also be banned. You don’t want your audience to be involved in a phishing scam and lose trust in your brand.
When Should You Retain and Respond to Negative Comments?
According to Tim Clarke, Rize Review’s Senior Reputation Manager, legitimate complaints from real clients or anything that is fair criticism should not be deleted.
A negative review could be a chance for growth. Censoring may further infuriate users who have real complaints. If you delete comments, it will only look like you’re hiding something or you’re avoiding the issue, signaling bad customer service.
You’ll also want to keep a negative comment when correcting or clarifying a statement. If a user makes an unfair or inaccurate statement about your brand, you can offer facts and prove that their claim is false to protect your brand reputation.
Note that current and potential customers can see how you respond to negative social media posts, so choose your battles carefully. Acknowledging negative social media posts and responding respectfully is a chance to display excellent customer service.
How To Deal With Negative Comments on Social Media
The longer you ignore negative comments on social media, the more time other users have to see them. Delaying a response will only aggravate a dissatisfied customer even more.
Apologizing shows that you empathize with the customer and want to regain their trust. If your company has been caught up in a viral social media scandal, it’s best to publish a public apology as soon as possible.
Personalize Your Response
An automated response to their negative posts on social media is the last thing a disgruntled customer wants to see. Address the user by name and thank them for sharing their concerns. If the issue can’t be resolved right away, offer to discuss the issue offline and make necessary amends.
Put Your Feelings Aside
Regarding negative posts on social media; it’s best to rely on facts, not emotions. Otherwise, you may say things you don’t mean that could worsen the situation. “Apologize if necessary but if it’s not a legitimate complaint, point out the facts and defend the brand,” said Clarke.
Discuss It Privately
If a user is persistent or uncooperative, taking the conversation offline is best. Leave a comment inviting them to contact you via telephone or direct message. This shows the public that you’re willing to resolve negative posts on social media without causing further disruption.
Maintain a Spotless Social Media Presence
Social media comments reflect how your audience perceives your brand. Monitoring negative social media posts and mentions helps you further stimulate customer satisfaction. Likewise, staying on top of negative social media comments can reduce the damage a crisis can impose on your business.
Monitor interactions on all your social media profiles with Rize Reviews’ review monitoring and reputation management services. Our advanced white-label online reputation management software features a customizable dashboard, review monitoring and response tool, listings management, cross-channel integration and more.
To learn more about our reputation management services contact us at 866.325.0303. Our team can help you respond to negative social media comments and protect your brand image.