Dealing with social media negativity is never a popular topic and I’m sure you are wondering why we are covering it.
Because just like in real life, it’s a reality.
The advice varies on how best to handle negativity in social media from the very funny to spectacularly dumb. Whichever way you choose to deal with poor feedback or outright online, do it conscious in the fact the record will be there forever.
Here some guidelines you will find in many blogs on the topic, and our take on them.
Don’t Respond to Negative Comments
We tend to take this approach and we have seen this used very effectively. We aren’t advocating being an ostrich and burying your head in the sand until the negativity dies out. You can, but please do so at your own risk.
Your audience will be able to forgive a genuine mistake, but only when you put your hands up to it and address it.
If it isn’t something you can fix and its simply someone disagreeing with a point you have made, we simply thank them for taking the time to share their views and leave it there.
Respond To Every Last Negative Comment You Receive
Well, it is unlikely you get so many negative comments to keep you busy all day doing this. If you are, you have bigger problems. Social media is merely the symptom.
You know how to differentiate between people who are raising genuine concerns and those who are out to cause trouble. Choose your battles and fight the ones that are the most meaningful. Consider invoking the rule above.
Deleted Post Means Problem Fixed
Any parent will tell you that ‘Out of sight, out of mind’ Is just trouble waiting to happen.
What has been read cannot be unread and what is seen cannot be unseen. Besides, contrary to what people may think, the audience doesn’t always have a short memory span. Their ability to remember and hold a grudge will surprise you.
Deleting posts is perfectly acceptable, but it shouldn’t be an isolated intervention. Combine the removal with contacting the author of the post to be deleted and explain why you have done so.
If you are in a regulated industry like financial services or healthcare, make sure you retain a copy of the post and your communication to its originator.
Disable Commenting Altogether
Disabling comments is not going to stop people from saying what they have to about you. They will just do so on their own blogs or social media profiles where it will be a lot harder for you to mediate the discussion.
So if you have an effective social media monitoring tool this may be the approach for you. But bear in mind you will then be defending yourself on a site that you have no control over that may be more hostile to your cause.
We prefer to direct people to pages and sites where we can manage comments most effectively and where the author has to review their identity. LinkedIn is best for this, our your own site. We recommend comments being switched off for YouTube in particular.
Summary Of Dealing With Online Detractors
There is no one-size-fits-all policy we can recommend for handling negative comments, except be genuine, transparent, thank people for taking the time and deal with the under pinning issue, not just the comment.
One comment is all it takes to turn your supporters into detractors. But wouldn’t you rather harvest this feedback than see it fester in a customer, or worse of all, in many customers?
Whenever I come across a firm who values my feedback and cares enough to do something about it, they increase exponentially in my estimation of them.
That doesn’t sound so bad, does it?