Negative Comments
How to Manage Negative Comments on Social Media

In today’s digital age, negative online comments can drastically affect your business’s reputation and, in worst case scenarios, your bottom line. Navigating through this digital landscape can seem daunting. But don’t worry, we’re here to help. Below are insights on how to deal with negative comments and maintain your business’s positive online reputation. 

Understanding the Power of Online Customers 

Picture this, you’re at your favourite restaurant, about to order, when you overhear someone at the next table criticizing the very dish you were planning to order. Would you still go ahead with your choice, or would you consider something else? Most likely, your decision would be swayed.  

The same scenario plays out online every single day. One negative comment can easily sway potential customers, affecting your business significantly. That’s why addressing these comments is essential for online reputation management. 

“The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about.” – Oscar Wilde

This quote beautifully captures the importance of customer feedback. Even if it’s negative, it opens a channel for improvement and business growth. 

Preparing for Negative Comments 

Dealing with negative comments can feel like walking a tightrope. But being prepared can give you the stability you need. Here’s a list of strategies and tips to help you navigate your online reputation: 

  1. Don’t ignore the comment: Leaving a negative comment unanswered can give the impression that you don’t care about your customers’ experiences.
  2. Be professional: When responding, always maintain a respectful and professional tone, no matter how negative the comment might be.
  3. Handle privately if possible: If the situation allows, take the discussion offline or to a private channel. It shows your genuine intention to resolve the matter.
  4. Learn and improve: Every comment, positive or negative, is an opportunity to understand your customer’s needs better and improve your business.

Creating a Plan of Action: How to Respond to Negative Comments

Let’s dive right in – When a negative comment arises, the initial reaction might be one of panic or anger. However, one needs to remember that it’s crucial to keep composure. Take a deep breath and follow this plan of action to mitigate potential damage and turn the situation into a growth opportunity. 

Step One: Acknowledge 

The first step is to acknowledge the complaint. Ignoring or deleting it can further agitate your customer and observers alike. A simple ‘Thank you for your feedback’ can set a positive tone for the conversation ahead. 

Step Two: Apologize 

Next, issue an acknowledgement of their feelings. Regardless of the actual issue, your customer feels upset and it’s essential you show empathy. Apologizing does not mean accepting fault, it merely says, “We acknowledge your feelings, and we’re sorry you had a negative experience.” 

Step Three: Investigate 

It’s time to look into the problem. Gather as much information as you can about the issue, probing both internally and externally if necessary. It’s vital to understand the root of the issue before you attempt to resolve it. This step may take some time, so keep your customer updated on your progress. 

Step Four: Handle the issue privately 

When you have a path of resolution, direct the conversation to a private message or offline, away from the public forum. Not all details need to be public and it’s a more respectful approach to the complainant. 

Step Five: Resolve 

Work towards resolution then circling back to see if their needs have been met. Ideally, your detractor becomes a brand advocate when you show them you value their experience and are willing to correct the course when things go off track. 

Creating a Negative Comments Response Guide 

To ensure consistently in responses and to breadown complexity, create a Response Guide for handling negative comments. This guide should include potential scenarios and approved responses, ensuring even the most stressful situations are handled effectively. 

Your guide could look something like this: 

Product issue“We’re sorry to hear you’re having issues with our product. We strive to provide the best for our customers. Kindly check your private messages, so we can assist you further.”
Service complaint“Our sincerest apologies for the service you’ve received. We aim to do better. Please check your inbox—the team wants to make this right.”
General Complaint“We understand your concerns and are sorry you’ve had this experience. We’d like to learn more and see how we can improve. Could you please check your messages?”

Remember, the main objective is not just to put out the fire but to make your customer feel heard, appreciated, and valued. You are not just responding to a complaint; you are building a relationship based on trust and understanding.

Crafting Effective Responses: Dos and Don’ts of Engaging with Trolls

Let’s face it, dealing with internet trolls can be a real headache. Though challenging, having a strategy on how to engage with them can help prevent unnecessary damage to your online reputation. Remember, the goal here is not to win an argument but to show potential customers your commitment to excellent customer service even in difficult situations. 

Here are some Do’s and Don’ts to help guide your engagement with internet trolls. Do’s: 

  • Stay professional: Always keep your responses courteous and respectful, even when dealing with an unpleasant comment.
  • Consider a private response: Sometimes, it might be more appropriate to take the conversation offline or to a private message, especially if the comment is inflammatory or damaging. This helps prevent your audience from seeing unnecessary drama.
  • Ask for specifics: If a troll posts a vague negative comment, politely ask for more details. This may either guide them to provide legitimate feedback or reveal that they’re simply out to cause trouble.


  • Never engage in a public argument: While it’s important to respond, avoid getting dragged into a public spat. This could harm your company’s image more than the initial negative comment.
  • Avoid generic responses: Copy-pasting a stock response to a negative comment may come off as insincere. Although it may take more time, personalizing your responses shows your audience that their feedback is valuable and taken seriously.

Always bear in mind, your organization’s conduct online is a reflection of your brand. Strive to keep interactions positive and productive, no matter how others choose to behave.

Learning to navigate negative comments, particularly those from internet trolls, requires strategy and practice. Adopting these guidelines will not only help protect your online reputation but will also signal to your customers that their inputs are heard and appreciated – an invaluable component to any consumer-business relationship.

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