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The Chamber Blog

This space features conversations about issues affecting the Decatur-Morgan County area from leaders in our community.

Five ways to handle negative comments on social media

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By Melea Hames

The internet can be a scary place, and people can be awfully brave behind a keyboard. Words that would never be said face to face are flung around on social media without regard to the fact that another human being is on the other side of the computer, phone, or tablet. You can post something totally innocent and be shocked to find a negative comment. So what do you do when faced with negativity on social media? First, you need to assess the situation and then determine your course of action. Here are five ways to handle a negative comment:

  1. One way to handle a negative comment is to respond positively to the comment. Thank them for the feedback and ask how you might be able to “fix” the problem for them. Often when you respond to negativity with kindness, it softens the person who lashed out on the post. Kindness can diffuse a lot of intense situations.

  2. If responding to the comment is only going to add fuel to the fire, don’t. Sometimes a negative comment is best left just sitting there, and often when you do this your fans and/or followers will jump in to your defense. It’s always a great thing when someone else fights your battle for you. Then you remain totally innocent in the matter.

  3. Another way to respond to negativity is to ask the person if you can take the conversation off of social media. If the comment is negative but also valid, ask if you can communicate via email or phone call. This method can also take a lot of fire out of the situation when it’s one on one instead on social media where you have an audience.

  4. If the comment is beyond negative and enters into being plain nasty, then delete the comment. If it will not benefit anyone to see it, you have the power on your page to remove it. If the offending person returns to the post to ask why his or her comment was removed, you can reply that you do not allow certain words or phrases on your page. If the problem persists, you also have the option to ban this person from your page.

  5. If your brand is the type of brand that is able to respond to a negative comment with a funny, snarky, or sarcastic response, then this type of response can diffuse the situation with humor. This is a risky option, but if your brand allows for this type of response it can be effective.

Negative comments on social media are unfortunately inevitable, but if you’re ready for them, you can turn a negative into a positive.

Melea Hames is the Social Media Manager for the Alabama Mountain Lakes Tourist Association. 

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