Social media is an essential asset for any communications strategy and it a vital tool in communicating with modern day audiences. Social media platforms such as Facebook, Tik Tok, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn can help businesses to interact with their audiences and increase corporate and brand awareness.
However, it is often unavoidable that every digitally present business may encounter negativity online.
How you choose to deal with it will ultimately affect your company or brand reputation. Careful consideration should be given when it comes to dealing with potential negative comments online.
Here are some pointers from the Heneghan Team for responding to negative online commentary:
- Utilise social media monitoring tools
First, you should consider social media monitoring. This is an effective tool to keep on track of mentions of your company or brand across various platforms and forums online. This will enable you to gain a deeper understanding about the type of conversations happening online and will better equip you to deal with the feedback.
Investing time and resources into a suitable media monitoring platform can help you to understand the full picture, and take steps to formulate a suitable response.
- Respond in a timely manner
Always aim to reply to negative comments in a timely manner. Due to the fast-moving nature of social media, rapid responses are now expected. As a starting point, develop an agreed timeline for response to social media comments, both positive and negative.
In the event of a negative comment, the earlier you catch criticism, the easier it will be to steer the conversation in the right direction towards resolution. Slow responses can leave people feeling overlooked, resulting in further dissatisfaction and allows time for negativity to multiply through retweeting and sharing.
- Focus on resolving the issue
Even if you disagree with the point of view, you should still attempt to determine the cause of the conflict and then focus on the steps you will take to reach agreement.
Show those who may be following the thread that you care about the issue and appreciate the feedback, and if appropriate, let them know what actions you will pursue to ensure the problem doesn’t arise again.
- Take it offline
In some cases, it can be useful to move the conversation away from the public sphere to a more private place. Often, it can be useful to ask the social media user to submit feedback via formal complaints channels, by email, direct message, or to provide a phone number to speak directly with a member of the team.
However, smaller issues and in some cases, inaccuracies can be resolved publicly. If a situation seems like it can be resolved easily by clarification, doing so in the public eye can also be a good way to promote your commitment to resolving the issue.
- Avoiding social media ‘trolls'
Finally, before responding to users online, you should always try to ensure you are dealing with a genuine account and avoid engaging with ‘trolls’ or ‘bots’. Often the best response to anonymous online aggression is no response, but if you are experiencing trolling or offensive, aggressive or threatening behaviour, consider reporting them to the social network in question, and screenshot the original post to support the report.
In an ideal world, every comment your business receives online would be positive. Potential customers, clients and other stakeholders will often turn to social media before engaging with an organization and will research what is being said about it online.
By taking the appropriate steps to deal with negative comments, you can help to minimize any potential reputational damage.
If you are looking to develop a social media strategy, or need assistance activating social media platforms, talk to the Heneghan team today - Contact Us
About the author: Aveen Moore
Aveen first joined the Heneghan team in March 2021 as an intern. She is a recent graduate of Ulster University and holds a BSc. in Communication Management and Public Relations. As a Junior Account Executive, Aveen supports the wider Heneghan team in media relations and digital communications.