Free Download – Social Media Response Planner

Free Download – Social Media Response Planner

Free Download – Social Media Response Planner

A handy worksheet to help you plan your approach to negative comments on social media, including a template for crafting responses – and creating opportunities from those moments we all dread.

How To Handle Social Media Haters Like a Pro

How To Handle Social Media Haters Like a Pro

How To Handle Social Media Haters Like a Pro

social media management & content creation

The 8 must-have strategies for every social media admin

As a breed, small business owners are really passionate about what they do.

It’s that passion that drives us to put so much of ourselves into our businesses. But it can also drive us crazy the moment we read a negative comment online.

Thanks to social media we have never been more accessible to our audience and that is great, for the most part. But how do we cope when the comments online aren’t so positive?

So many of us see red and move straight into getting defensive, which is understandable – we care so much about our business. But when we let these emotions drive our responses online, we can quickly find ourselves in trouble. Social media moves fast and you need to make sure you keep things positive and stay in control.

To help things run smoothly we always recommend creating a Social Media Management Plan. Not only does this ensure you meet your marketing goals but it allows you to create an action plan for managing negative comments before they happen.

Another really helpful tactic is to assemble your team. Appoint a staff member or members who are in charge of social media management. If you have a larger business you might then assign people from different departments to different types of comment or complaint. This allows the social media manager to escalate complaints to the person best able to deal with them, which helps keep response times to a minimum.

So, where to start? Read on for our 8 top tips for handling social media haters! Then check out our downloadable Planner to start crafting responses to – and creating opportunities from – negative comments.

1. Don’t delete or ignore the comment

It may seem like a good idea but the issue won’t go away when the comment does. Removing a negative comment takes away that person’s ‘voice’ and can create further bad feeling.

Acknowledging a negative post helps avoid disgruntled users doubling-down on the negative comments, calling you out publicly or taking their angst to another platform where you have no control over the narrative.

There are exceptions to this rule, however. Extremely inappropriate or offensive comments. Harassment or trolling – even after you have worked to disarm the situation. In such cases you may report the behaviour where possible, delete the comment and then block the user from your page.


2. Do respond as quickly as you can

You want to get on top of negative comments as quickly as you can. People love interacting in the comments section and if left unattended for too long you may find things start to snow ball. Always make your initial response public, this will help show others you are listening and dedicated to finding a resolution. As soon as possible, you can take the conversation offline and continue to resolve things privately.


3. Don’t panic or let negative comments scare you

Remember, this isn’t the end of the world, this is an opportunity that you can embrace. It’s the perfect way of learning what your customers need, want and expect from you so try to roll with it! Take whatever feedback you can get and most importantly, act on it.


4. Do keep your responses calm and sincere

Use your active listening so that you can understand the root of the issues and empathise with the user’s point of view. They clearly went to the trouble of making the comment so it’s important you follow through on your end and mean it. Always thank them for expressing their feelings and giving you an opportunity to find a resolution.

It’s also worth thinking about your brand when crafting a response to online comments. The ‘tone’ you use – as well as things like whether you use emojis, or whether you sign your response are all part of your branding, so they need to be considered, consistent and audience-appropriate.


5. Don’t give a generic response or an excuse

We want to make the person feel heard and understood in the situation. Generic responses may come off as insincere and lead to further mistrust of your brand, so be sure to make your responses feel personal (but still professional).

If you find posting about a particular topic or product tends to trigger the same old comments, you may find it useful to script some basic responses before the post goes live. Just make sure these are structured in a way that makes them easily to personalise or adapt as needed. Then you can feel cool, calm and on top of the situation – which is always a plus! To learn more about how to script responses, download our Social Media Response Planner.

Even though you may be in the right, excuses can be perceived as you explaining away the complaint or making it invalid. Customers won’t buy it and it can hurt your brand. And if there does happen to be some truth to the comment that’s been posted – now’s the time to own your part in the situation! A polite apology and an assurance that you will contact the user privately to resolve the problem can go a long way.


6. Do take the opportunity to give yourself a plug – if it’s there!

When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade, right? Well the same goes for negative comments on social media. If someone is expressing doubts about your product or service, now’s the time to clear those doubts up by mentioning some of the relevant features or benefits. Just remember to keep it friendly and light – time to fire up that active listening again!


7. Do follow through

So you’ve got through the tough conversation, apologised and explained what steps you are going to take to resolve the issue. It’s really important that you don’t drop the ball here. When dealing with a genuine complaint, make sure you follow through until the issue is truly resolved.


8. Don’t forget about the good comments

Always take the time to acknowledge the positive comments you receive too. A like, a smiley face or a quick thank you comment can go such a long way. All relationships need nurturing and this a fantastic way to look after those followers who are engaged and positive about your brand.

Plus, responding to comments is an excellent way to help your post’s organic reach on social media.


At the end of the day, social media has brought businesses closer than ever to their customers – past, present and future. The real trick is to see this closeness as an opportunity rather than a threat.


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