How Not to Handle Negative Comments On Social Media

Recently, I wrote a piece on how brands should react to social media comments. And while I was doing some basic research and thinking through my own experience, I came through plenty of examples where brands were doing just the opposite. Here’s a run through of how not to handle negative comments on real-time social media.

How not to handle negative comments on social media

How Not To Handle Negative Comments On Social Media

1. Ignoring negative comments or delaying responses: Deleting comments, ignoring them or delaying responses are the worst strategic approaches to adopt. Here are some interesting stats:

32% customers who’ve contacted a brand on social media expect a response in 30 minutes.
42% expect a response within an hour of contact.

But contrary to the needs, according to Simply Measured, only 10% brands are responding to customer complaints within the hour and only 30% of brands have a dedicated customer service handle on Twitter, with the average response time of 5.1 hours. The potential of these delayed responses going viral on social media can destroy your brand reputation, especially if there’s a strong social media user involved.

2. Using humor inappropriately: I will share an example here to showcase what recently happened. The customer is quite obviously unhappy with customer service and the Tweet comes off saying something funny that really does not help or calm down an angry customer.

3. Displaying Rude behavior: Many firms have been caught in the wrong being rude to customers. It is even more common with Startup owners or small firms which take every customer complaint very personally and instead of reacting with helpful comments, try and take extremely personal jibes at customers. Unfortunately, even if deleted, the potential of a public screenshot can be dangerously viral. Here’s a sad example (source):

how not to handle negative comments on social media

4. Keeping the communication online-only: I am going to use the comments from Ken Herron on this one, which really highlights the point:

Thank them for bringing the matter to your attention, and immediately take it off-line. Off of the Internet. Off of email. Talk to the customer over the phone. Not only does this give you the added contextual insights from speaking with them in person, but enables you to resolve the issue out of the public’s eye.

I wish you social media luck!


Upasna Kakroo

Upasna co-founded Brandanew in 2014 for the sheer love of storytelling and authentic connections. She has been blogging and documenting digital stories since 2003.