Why You Should Always Respond to Negative Comments on Social Media as a Brand

Thursday 7th October 2021

Why You Should Always Respond to Negative Comments on Social Media as a Brand

Thursday 7th October 2021


As a business owner or brand marketer, negativity surrounding your product or service isn’t something you want to encounter online. Unfortunately (and unsurprisingly), however, the world wide web can be a critical place at times - with 47% of people admitting to using social media to complain about their experiences with companies and 70% of consumers choosing to call out brands on social to make other individuals aware of issues they’ve faced. It’s tough out here! But while you can’t prevent customers from voicing their dissatisfaction and annoyances on the Internet, you can ensure you handle tense situations in a calm, professional and mature manner, in order to protect your business reputation, de-escalate crises and ultimately turn negative interactions into positive ones.


Don’t Ignore It

When a sour comment or unfavourable mention pops up in your notifications, your initial reaction may be to simply ignore it and pretend it’s not there. You might panic and put your phone on Do Not Disturb, hurriedly close your laptop or pull the plug on your PC - but in this instance, ignorance isn’t bliss. 35% of consumers will go as far as boycotting a brand if they ignore complaints, making it essential to reply and resolve the matter at hand instead of sweeping it under the rug.

The speed of your response is important too, with 39% of social media complainers expecting an answer within one hour. Of course, that doesn’t mean you should rush through your message. It’s crucial to take the time to read and understand what’s been said, allowing you to provide a thorough solution that doesn’t disregard or overlook any of the points raised by the customer.

You certainly shouldn’t delete negative comments either, except in some circumstances where extremely profane or offensive language has been used.


Be Personal, Honest and Polite

The first step to take is to apologise to the unhappy customer in a sincere, polite and personal manner. Using their name, acknowledging the mistake that has been made and confirming that you fully understand their complaint are the best ways to take responsibility and demonstrate that you care. Dishing out generic, copy-and-paste responses that aren’t tailored to the needs of each individual customer will only further their disappointment and will give the impression that your company is too busy to offer comprehensive support. In fact, 71% of consumers express some level of frustration when their experience with a brand is impersonal.

Negative claims and accusations on social media can hurt, particularly if you’re the owner of a small business. However, you should try not to take comments to heart - and definitely avoid getting defensive or lashing out at the customer. Despite the temptation to deny everything and insist innocence, owning up to your faults will actually better protect your reputation in the long run. 89% of people say a brand can regain their trust if it admits to an error and is transparent about the steps it will take to fix it.


Go Private

It’s easier and more appropriate to handle negativity via an email or DM than in the comments section. While you should respond publicly first, so other users can see that you’re listening and trying to help, it’s best to turn the conversation into a private one as soon as possible - especially if resolving the issue requires the collection of confidential details about the customer, such as their order number, phone number or address. Plus, if someone is really angry, you don’t want them to keep commenting publicly and drawing more attention to the complaint for others to witness.


Learn and Grow

A great way to make negative comments feel less discouraging is to use them as learning tools. Yes, a customer has had a poor experience with your business and that’s disheartening to hear - but they’ve also presented you with an opportunity to adapt, grow and discover which areas of your brand need improvement. This is notably true for cases where a number of people have complained about the same problem, as these will bring to your attention any processes that evidently aren't working and require investigation.

By thanking the customer for their message and showing that you’re grateful for the information they’ve given, you can put a positive spin on the ordeal and approach their criticism in a more constructive, forward-thinking manner. After all, 52% of people believe that companies need to take action on feedback provided by their customers, and brands are viewed more favourably by 77% of consumers if they proactively invite and accept feedback.



For some brands, the risk of receiving negative comments is enough to deter them from using social media altogether - but recognising that they’re an inevitable part of the online experience is necessary. And remember: people most likely have good things to say about your company as well, so don’t ignore those comments either! Replying to positive messages helps take the spotlight away from the bad ones and encourages more users to share their support.

Need a helping hand from the experts? Learn about our Social Reputation & Crisis Control service to find out how our team can prevent social media complaints from escalating and keep your business on top of its PR game.