Good Question: how should my company manage online trolls and negative comments on social media?
“A negative comment was left on my company’s social pages and it’s starting to go far and wide. I am worried it is going to affect business. How can I manage and should I respond?”
Founder and CEO, 2Social
Lauren Shirreffs is the founder and CEO of 2Social — a women-led Canadian digital agency that delivers full service, community-minded marketing solutions to organizations across North America. Known as a brand nurturer, expert digital storyteller and passionate problem solver, Lauren continues to be at the forefront of social media innovation and has built 2Social into a thriving bi-coastal agency with offices in Toronto and Los Angeles.
Social media opens the door for two-way communication between brands and consumers, which ultimately helps drive engagement, loyalty and community. However, consumers will often take the time to write a negative comment when they’re frustrated or upset rather than a positive one when they’re pleased with their experience. When negative comments are posted, it’s ideal to have a corporate social media policy and prepared “FAQs” written in the voice and tone of the brand at the ready. These materials provide direction and leave no room for error in these imperative touch points with consumers.
If you don’t have a corporate social media policy or FAQs at your organization, don’t panic — now is the time to think rationally and clearly. Immediately escalate this comment (ideally within one to three hours from the time the comment was posted) to your marketing manager and collaborate on the best way to approach your response. This is also a good time to prepare for any virality or further customer feedback.
Look at this situation as a window of opportunity to shift a negative comment into a positive customer experience. If done skillfully and strategically, the response can also illustrate to the online audience the brand’s core values and its values as a whole.
- Respond in one to three hours.
- Be polite, positive, helpful and synonymous with your brand tone.
- Encourage the conversation to be continued as a direct or private message.
- Escalate the comment to the appropriate managers with a suggested response that is on tone and on-brand.
- Document the incident for future references.
- Add to or develop a FAQ document to share best practices, ensure speedy turn-around times, and support the community management team.
- Respond if the comment includes any vulgarities, racism, or sexism. It is perfectly okay in these instances to hide the comment.
- Escalate the comment to a superior and then not follow up on the matter.
- Continue the conversation on a public forum, such as a wall post.
- Argue, retaliate, or provoke.