Five Ways Your Business Can Deal With Negative Social Media Comments

Your business’s social media profile is an open door for customers to interact with you and your brand. There are endless benefits to having a direct line of communication between you and your followers.  However, one unfortunate consequence of existing on social media is the potential for negative comments to arise. Naturally, these comments can be upsetting and alarming. After all, they are publicly posted for everyone to see and the last thing you want is for other customers to take the negativity of one follower to heart. Don’t panic! While in your mind you might see this as a disaster, rest assured that it is a natural part of life as a business owner. What matters here is how you react to these complaints and what you learn going forward.  Here are some tips on how to react to negative social media comments directed at your business.

Don’t Delete The Comments

It can be a tempting, knee-jerk reaction to simply vanish the comment in question from your timeline. It can’t hurt you or your business if it’s no longer there, right? Wrong. Deleting these comments, while a good idea in theory, can actually end up hurting you and your company’s image. In these situations, it is vital that customers are able to see how you address negativity. They need to see that you won’t limit their speech or take away the freedom to share their experience but more importantly they need to know that they will be heard.  Deleting these comments shows that you have no interest in resolving a customer complaint which is extremely off-putting.

Another reason to avoid deleting comments is the possibility of your business coming off as suspicious. Customers might begin to wonder what you’re hiding or why you’re so quick to delete negativity. You can assuage these potential doubts and concerns by refraining from erasing negative comments and complaints and instead addressing them using the guidelines below. 

There are situations, however, in which you might actually want to delete certain comments. Messages littered with foul language, overwhelming hate and any otherwise upsetting comments fall under instances in which you should use your discretion. If a comment has no discernible complaint or framework of feedback but is instead simply posted in an attempt to vent anger and hurt others you should, as a business owner, decide whether or not to address the individual. A potential solution to acknowledge deleting these comments is to follow-up with a reminder on your page that while you welcome feedback and criticism, it is important that the messages refrain from using foul language or deliberately hurtful comments. This shows your audience that you want to listen and help those that have had negative experiences but you don’t want your social media to become a place for blatantly offensive content. 

Handle Negativity In Private

Occasionally it might be better to handle complaints out of the spotlight and in a 1-on-1 setting.  The comment section of your profile might not be the appropriate setting to work towards a solution and that is perfectly acceptable. In this case, you want to reach out publicly and offer to speak to them via email, phone, or direct message. By publicly reaching out you are still showing other customers your willingness to address complaints while also moving the discussion to a more private setting. 

Now that you’re away from the public eye, address the customer and work with them to reach an acceptable solution. Once you’ve resolved the issue, be sure to return to the original comment and thank them for taking the time to speak with you and express your joy in being able to help them. Remind them to reach out if they have any other issues or feedback that they wish to share and once again thank them for their business. This, again, shows your followers that the problem has been solved and that you were able to work with the customer in order to mollify the situation.

Take Responsibility

If you find that the customer’s complaint is valid it is vital that you own up and take responsibility. Mistakes are a part of life and your business will inevitably make a few blunders. This is entirely natural and expected as you and your employees are only human. The important lesson here, and what can set you apart from other businesses, is to accept that an error has been made and agree that it is your responsibility to resolve it. 

The first thing to do is to apologize to the customer for their negative experience. Your reputation and your interaction with the customer is your business’s lifeblood. If a customer has chosen to engage with you it is important that you’re sympathetic to their complaint.  Once you’ve expressed your sorrow in causing them an inconvenience, offer to fix the issue appropriately. Replace a product, offer a coupon for a future visit or purchase, or, when warranted, issue a full refund. Whatever you decide, it is your responsibility to make sure that you repair what is fixed and leave the customer feeling satisfied and acknowledged. 

Keep Cool and Follow-Up

It can be instinctual to respond to negativity with more negativity. You might be tempted to lash out with a seething response of your own and defend your business. It’s only natural to feel hurt and angry in response to your business being on the receiving end of backlash.  In this situation it is necessary that you keep a calm head and respond with professionalism and compassion. Let the customer in question know that they are being heard and their complaints are valid. Talk about the issue, understand why it happened and how it can be avoided in the future, and offer a solution.

Do not forget to thank them for their feedback and for their business. By leaving a negative comment, they are essentially providing you with information needed to address potential concerns with your business.  Think of it as an audit of things that need to be examined and document the complaint so that you can ensure you are consistently providing quality service. By thinking of these comments in this light you can train yourself to avoid those unwelcome feelings of anger that you might experience when encountering social media negativity in the future. 

Don’t forget to follow-up with your customer.  Keep track of their purchases or comments in the future so that, should they post any other negative experiences, they can be quickly resolved. You want your customers to feel valued and important and so remembering past customers and their feedback or complaints is welcomed.

Be Timely and Personable

Respond swiftly to any negativity.  Ignoring or delaying responses can be perceived as a nonchalant attitude towards your customers and their experiences. Avoiding or procrastinating in responding to a customer’s negative comment can fuel anger and create even more problems. These customers want to know that they are being seen and heard and by ignoring them you are essentially saying that you don’t care enough to reach out and work with them to discover a solution. Once you see a negative comment, address it and the customer as soon as possible in order to avoid an unnecessarily messy situation. 

When responding, however, make sure that you’re authentic and personable. Avoid generic or robotic responses that can come across as cold and unfamiliar. Address the customer by name, let them know that you care about them and their business, and offer to follow-up. Don’t treat them as another nameless face but rather as a valued customer who deserves to be heard.  If you can, share your name with them as well so that they know they are speaking to another human who can empathize with them and assist them in resolving their issue. 


Your business will undoubtedly run into negativity at some point on social media. Rest assured that businesses all over the globe deal with adversity and pessimism and you are not alone. While negative comments may not be unique, it is how you respond that can set you apart. Continue to focus on providing excellent customer service and ensure that at the end of the day you have more positive comments and interactions to outweigh the negative. 

Don’t let these comments on your social media get you and your business down. Let these criticisms be learning experiences in which you can address problems within your company while also connecting with your customers and reminding them that they are valued and essential.  Continue to welcome feedback while maintaining an authentic persona and don’t let a negative experience dissuade you from continuing to market your business on social media.

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