When you send Direct Messages as part of your social media marketing strategy, it is possible for you to receive negative responses. Even when you put a ton of thought into planning a social media campaign, you can’t always avoid criticism and negativity.
In my time as Socedo’s social media manager, I’ve seen all kinds of negative comments. Before you can respond to a negative comment, it’s important to separate each one into the category it belongs to.
Types of Negative Comments
1. Direct Problems – In this case, a person is commenting on a specific issue with your product and voicing her frustration that something isn’t working. He or she is asking for help to solve the problem. Another case would be someone who is voicing that she doesn’t like receiving DMs (because the message feels like it’s spam, rather than personal).
2. Constructive Criticism – Actual users of your product may comment on what they perceive to be flaws in your product and suggest ways to improve your product.
3. Personal Attack – This kind of comment takes on an especially negative / angry tone and could occur when someone feels he or she has been wronged by your company (i.e. because they have contacted you through other channels about something urgent/important and have not received a satisfactory response).
4. Trolling/Spam – These negative comments are not valid. They come from spammers who have chosen to say negative things about your brand either for their own entertainment or to promote a competing company / service. You can tell is someone is a troll by looking at your profile – check to see if they are trolling and spamming other people.
Each type of negative comment requires a different response. In general, I think of negative responses as constructive feedback. I try to respond in a way that helps to repair the relationship between the commenter and my company.
How to Respond to Negative Comments
1. Direct Problems – Tell the user you have noted the issue and the specific steps your company plans to take to fix the problem. If you can provide a specific solution – let the user know and communicate that through email or phone.
Who should respond:
- Your Marketing Team – If the mention/response is through a direct message, it’s short and simple and the problem is easly fixable, you can simply respond by sending a direct message.
- CEO/VP/Manager – If the mention/response is public, created by someone who has a large social following, or has already gotten others involved. In this scenario, it’s best to address the issue via email, direct message or by phone.
2. Constructive Criticism – While your company may not implement the person’s suggestion, by responding positively, you can build trust with the commenter.
- Example: “Thank you for taking your time to make this suggestion – we’ll take this back to our product team. ”
Who should respond:
- Your Marketing Team – This response can be public or private.
3. Personal Attack – A personal attack is usually focused on a specific person or group in your company, which is a basis towards a real problem. They’re calling someone out about a contract or business deal in public. Always respond promptly to this type of comment with a positive tone, but do it in a private medium such as email, direct message (Twitter/LinkedIn) or phone call. Have an escalation strategy so the issue can be pointed the right direction and addressed.
- Example: “We came across your comments on our business and wanted to hear more about your thoughts. We’d love to discuss on how we can correct the issues and fix the problem.”
Who should respond:
- CEO/VP/MANAGER – This response can be public or private.
4. Trolling/Spam – Does not require a response. The goal of the spammer is to bait you into an unnecessary and image – damaging fight. You do not need to respond to this type of comment.
At the end of the day, to become successful in social media marketing, you must embrace the negative. By responding to your critiques in the right way, you can make your brand stronger and find opportunities to improve your product or service.