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3 Ways to Leverage Negative Responses on Social Media

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As a business owner or social media strategist for a particular brand, the temptation to delete negative customer comments before the masses read them may be too much to bear. After all, an unhappy customer is sure to build mistrust and drive potential consumers away.

However, deleting critical feedback about your brand could have equally adverse effects on the success of your business. Not every brand and business will receive five-star reviews every time and online users will be more interested in how brand owners respond to disgruntled customers.

It’s important to remember that negative reviews don’t necessarily mean your business is terrible – some can even benefit you in the long run. Although you might feel tempted to hit back with a rebuttal, demonstrating kindness and concern goes a long way.

Turn the Negative Social Media Into a Positive

Before you get upset over negative social media comments, you’ll be happy to know that bad reviews can be a good thing.

For example, the occasional negative comment about your brand cultivates a greater sense of authenticity and gives the impression you have nothing to hide. Customers even tend to trust your brand more if there’s a mixed pool of feedback.

Negative responses also deliver a chance for you to build the customer-brand relationship, fostering a deeper trust between both parties through user engagement. How you leverage negative feedback demonstrates how proactive you are about resolving issues. Customers won’t want to purchase a product or service from you if they’re not confident you’ll respond to problems.

For example, many negative comments are one-off, meaning your response on social media will demonstrate that you’ve resolved an isolated issue accordingly. The problem isn’t something prospective customers should anticipate when they engage with or buy from you.

Any Press is Good Press

Additionally, if you’ve heard the phrase “bad press is still good press,” it rings especially true for your brand’s search engine optimization (SEO). Customers are likely to use essential keywords in their negative responses that will help boost your rankings on search engine results pages. While you may not always like what the customer says, publishing negative reviews can generate brand awareness.

Finally, negative responses on social media enable you to take customer feedback and improve your brand. Do unhappy customers tend to complain about similar products or services? It might be time to reassess how you’re approaching your business model.

Take negative customer reviews as insight to make improvements. Better yet, you can follow up with your customers on their suggestions about what they’d like to see and experience.

Perhaps products arrive late or your website takes too long to load. Those reviews might highlight the need for improving shipping processes or optimizing your website for greater efficiency. Likewise, if a product doesn’t work the way you specified initially, you might explore options to improve the product design.

Use negative reviews on social media to find ways to better meet your customers’ needs. Ultimately, you’ll allow your brand to flourish, drive sales, and cultivate a stronger customer base.

3 Ways to Leverage Negative Social Media Responses

Simply leaving a negative comment on social media is almost like being left on “read” after texting somebody. Instead, it’s best to respond to each comment professionally and individually.

Of course, if you’re somewhat new to user engagement and business management, learning how to do this necessary task correctly is critical. Following these three tips for replying to negative responses can help turn customer concerns into sales and improve your brand’s standing.

negative social media
Photo by Marvin Meyer on Unsplash

1. Respond Quickly and Publicly

Responding respectfully and efficiently when handling negative feedback on public social media channels is essential. Get into the habit of viewing each customer response as time-sensitive. The longer you wait to reply to a negative comment, the worse the situation will likely become.

A recent survey by the Harvard Business Review found that customers who engaged with a brand’s customer service representative on Twitter within five minutes were willing to pay $20 more for future airline tickets, regardless of their prior experience with the product or service. The faster the response, the more likely it is you’ll build brand loyalty and value with your customers.

Of course, reaching online customers in five minutes or less isn’t always possible. If longer response times are inevitable due to varying resource and team constraints, aiming to respond within an hour is perfectly fine. In fact, many customers will have expected to hear from you by then.

Social media management tools are available to help you shorten the response time and organize your interactions with online users.

2. Demonstrate Quality Customer Service

Maintaining a superior level of customer service is critical as you learn to leverage negative responses on social media to protect your brand’s reputation.

Unfortunately, when people are unhappy, they’re more likely to lash out. Surveys show that 21% of adults admit to angering quickly, with another 20% saying they usually yell at their loved ones during high stress or irritability.

Try not to take the negative comments personally and maintain a cheerful, professional composure – otherwise, you might escalate the situation, which could reflect poorly on your brand.

Consider how you would want to be spoken to by a company after expressing dissatisfaction with a product or service. How do you want your customers to perceive what you’ve written in response?

One of the pitfalls of online user engagement is the inability to know whether someone’s tone is off-putting, snarky, or malicious. Depending on how you word your response, a customer could take your reply wrong.

A public acknowledgment and apology for their troubles are always worth it for whatever inconvenience or dissatisfaction with your brand they might feel. Offering a fair, public solution to their issue is also a good look overall.

You’ll need to determine when it’s time to carry a conversation to private channels – mainly if the customer is unhappy with the solutions you’ve provided in the public “digital commons.” Include contact information so they can reach a customer service representative directly to speak one-on-one about their issue and ensure future incidents won’t occur.

Taking a volatile conversation to private messages or email is also a smart move to save face when other customers read the conversation online.

3. Personalize Your Message

Unhappy users will want to feel as though they’re seen and important – which they are – and that their negative experience matters.

In the 2022 Local Consumer Review Survey by Bright Local, 55% of respondents said receiving a direct response from a business owner fosters a positive mindset toward a particular brand.

Rather than using a generic form to reply to negative comments, formulate a personalized message tailored to the customer complaint. This will help you sound more human. For example, addressing the customer by their first name if they’ve provided one is recommended. You might also sign off on your reply using your first name.

Additionally, you can offer to resolve the issue in an individualized manner, demonstrating a high level of empathy and concern for your customer. A customer will likely make future purchases after you’ve worked with them to reach a resolution.

Ultimately, direct and personalized responses will ensure your customers feel appreciated, improving your chances of retaining their business.

Negative Social Media Responses Are Nothing to Fear

There’s no need to panic when you receive a negative response on social media. Instead, consider it an opportunity to demonstrate your brand’s commitment to its customer base and providing quality products and services.

Learning to reply to negative comments properly rather than fighting them is better for your business.

About the Author

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Beth Rush

Beth Rush

Beth Rush is the Managing Editor and Content Manager at Body+Mind.

Body+Mind features articles about diet, fitness, mental health, parenting and health care.





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