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How to Deal With Negative Comments on Social Media [+ Examples]

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How to Deal With Negative Comments on Social Media [+ Examples]


While brand-bashing is nothing new, the internet and social media platforms make the comments from these meanies even more lasting and impressionable.

And because some social networks like Yelp and Twitter make it easy for people to set up fake profiles, the anonymity that people can achieve on the internet makes some more comfortable with losing all sense of decency, respect, and good manners.

So what’s the best way to deal with the negative comments that crop up from time to time? Let’s find out.

Let’s discuss these strategies in detail.

1. Respond to the comment as soon as possible.

Don’t delay. Don’t let negative comments linger. The more time you let them go unanswered, the more time others have to see that someone has complained and you haven’t responded.

Instead, address negative comments as quickly as possible to prevent them from bubbling up into something potentially more damaging. A negative post on your Instagram post or a tweet at your company’s Twitter account, for example, is much less of an issue than a nasty blog post, which can have a much longer-lasting effect.

Responding quickly will show the naysayer you’re listening, and you care. It will also alert others of your dedication to your community members.

2. Be apologetic.

If someone is complaining about your products, services, or anything else, say you’re sorry. It doesn’t matter if their complaint is warranted or not; you’re better off taking the “customer is always right” approach.

It doesn’t make sense to get in a public cage match over just one complaint, and others will respect you for apologizing upfront. If the person you’re dealing with is complaining over something silly, others will realize that, too, and won’t think anything of it.

3. Discuss the problem privately.

React publicly first, then take it privately. For example, if someone is being particularly difficult, take your communication with them to a private channel.

First respond publicly, whether it’s via a tweet or a comment on their Facebook wall post, and then send them a private message so you can chat with them over email or the phone, explaining to them you’d like to discuss the matter in a way that offers them a more personal experience.

This way, you give them the attention they’re vying for without making your interaction public for all to see.

4. Appreciate their feedback.

Treat complaints as constructive criticism or feedback. Sometimes that’s all they are. People want to be heard, and they want to know they’ve been heard.

So after you’ve apologized for their unsatisfactory experience, let them know their feedback is appreciated and that you’ll seriously consider their suggestions for improvement.

Then actually follow through. Send their feedback to your product team or the appropriate person within your organization. By responding to negative feedback, you can turn angry customers into happy, loyal ambassadors.

5. Ask them how you can help, and help.

If the comment you’re dealing with is blatantly offensive and lacks context, tell the commenter you’re sorry they feel the way they do and ask them how you can help make the situation better.

Then, one of two things will happen: They’ll reply with something you can actionably deal with, or they’ll be so taken aback that you replied and have nothing more to say. Either way, you’ll have responded tactfully.

6. Don’t delete all negative comments.

There are some times when it’s fine to delete negative comments. For example, if they use offensive language or are commenting off-point, there’s no danger in deleting the comments.

However, if they have genuine complaints, deleting their comments is a huge mistake. Those with legitimate complaints can be incensed by your censoring, and remember, current and potential customers are also watching. If you delete their comments, it’ll look like you’re hiding something which isn’t good for your brand.

7. Pick your battles.

Some people make noise just for the sake of making noise. They’re attention-seekers, and they just want to stir up some controversy.

It’s important to decide what’s worth responding to. Does this person have a following? Are other people responding to what they’re saying? It’s essential to keep these people on your radar and monitor what they’re saying, but it might not always be worth engaging with them.

Here’s what each type means and tips on how to handle them.

1. Customer Complaints

These are the most common negative comments you’ll receive and the most important of the four. As the name indicates, these comments are from customers that have problems using your product or service.

How to respond to complaints:

You should respond swiftly to all customer complaints. Apologize for any inconvenience, verify the problem, and offer customers a solution.

2. Trolling

Trolls are the bane of social media, especially Facebook and Twitter. These people (or robots?) just want attention and cause problems for you. Their outrageous comments are oftentimes untrue and intend to get other people riled up. This, in turn, detracts from your social media posts and redirects attention onto themselves and their ridiculous comments. Unfortunately, they aren’t genuine customers with real complaints and are pretty annoying.

How to deal with trolls:

Engaging them might be your first reaction, but that’s exactly what they want. So, once trolling has been identified, ignore the comments altogether.

3. Malicious Comments

Comments that contain profanity and offensive language fall into this category. This goes a bit further than trolling – malicious comments are mean and insulting and may attack your brand or the character of your staff or leadership. The intent of malicious comments is to inflict emotional distress on your team.

How to deal with malicious comments:

Have clear rules of engagement and enforce these rules. For example, you can have a “no profanity” rule and enforce it by deleting any comments that contain them. Repeat offenders can be reported and blocked.

4. Threatening Comments

These comments harass or threaten your social media team, leadership, or staff. They may even target customers and other followers of your social media accounts. Threatening comments are typically violent in nature — physically, emotionally, or otherwise.

How to deal with threatening comments:

You may be tempted to respond to threatening comments by sharing your boundaries as a brand or even informing the commenter about the terms of use of the social media platform, but it’s best to refrain from engaging. Hide the comment if you can, then, screenshot the comment and report it to the social media platform, local authorities, and your legal team.

Snappy Responses Wins The Battle, But Kindness Wins The War

It may feel good in the moment to make a snarky comeback and put a troll or negative person in their place. But the majority of the time, it’s just not worth it to respond.

You can stay on top of negative comments on your social media pages by using the tips we’ve provided in this post. You can also create a social media crisis management plan to help you turn nasty comments into positive PR.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in July 2011 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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The Ultimate Guide to Human Resources

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The Ultimate Guide to Human Resources


Remarkable Human Resources (HR) employees are critical at every company. They handle all employee relations so you can focus on your side of the business.

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Getting started with the Agile Marketing Navigator: Aligning on a Guidepoint

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Getting started with the Agile Marketing Navigator: Aligning on a Guidepoint


We recently introduced you to Agile Marketing Navigator, a flexible framework for navigating agile marketing for marketers, by marketers. We also held a Zoom meeting to discuss the Navigator with members of the agile marketing community.

The Navigator has four major components: Collaborative Planning Workshop, Launch Cycle, Key Practices and Roles. Within these categories, there are several sub-pieces for implementation. Over the next several weeks, we’ll dive into each piece and give you practical, actionable ways to use them at your company.

The collaborative planning workshop

To begin with, we’ll start at the top with the Collaborative Planning Workshop. The Collaborative Planning Workshop brings alignment to what the team is trying to achieve and empowers marketers to focus on customer value and business outcomes over activity and outputs. This session should happen quarterly or at the start of any large campaign or initiative.

Where most agile frameworks begin with the backlog of work for the team, we found it very important to start at a higher level and ensure alignment is happening between the agile marketing team and the key stakeholders asking for work from the team. 

One of the biggest challenges we’re addressing with the Collaborative Planning Workshop is the disconnect between the stakeholders who ask for work and the team on the hook for delivery. Way too often, the people setting the marketing strategy and the designers, copywriters, social media specialists and others don’t have a seat at the adult table. Work comes to them in the form of the creative brief via an electronic system, but there’s no conversation. They aren’t being treated like marketers but rather as producers of output. 

The Collaborative Planning Workshop is just what it says—a collaborative conversation where everyone is on an equal playing field and striving towards successful outcomes.


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The Guidepoint

This framework begins with everyone understanding the actual business reasons for success and alignment on a Guidepoint. Here’s how we define the Guidepoint in the Agile Marketing Navigator:

“The Guidepoint helps the team and stakeholders navigate what success looks like for an upcoming campaign or project. Stakeholders come to the workshop with a business goal for the organization. During the workshop, the group comes up with a short written description, called a Guidepoint, of what success looks like for this marketing initiative and how it aligns to the organization’s goals.”

The Guidepoint is the connective tissue that rolls upward and downward in the organization. It’s often the forgotten middle layer between what the stakeholder is on the hook for and the tactics executed by the marketing team to achieve success.

The Guidepoint aligns the agile marketing team and stakeholders on a shared purpose and creates a focus on the team’s outcomes. It also helps with prioritization, so work that’s not aligned gets a lower priority or isn’t done at all.

Read next: Freeing agile marketing from its software development roots

Here are a few example scenarios to get you started:

Industry: Healthcare

Business Goal: Acquire an additional 5,000 new patients during the first year after the grand opening of our new hospital.

Guidepoint: Create a campaign targeting elective surgery candidates that generates 1,500 leads that ultimately generate a higher than average conversion rate than the industry average.

Industry: Retail

Business Goal: Increase cart checkout dollar amounts by 10 percent over last year.

Guidepoint: Launch a campaign targeting suggestive add-on purchases, moving the average cart checkout price to $50.

Industry: Financial Services

Business Goal: Generate a 25% increase in our personal finance app downloads in 2022.

Guidepoint: Generate an average of 50 new downloads apps with an activation rate of 25%.

Ideally, you have an agile marketing team formed with a straight line to a stakeholder and business goals that need to be achieved, which makes it pretty easy to focus on a single Guidepoint at a time. 

However, many marketing teams haven’t streamlined this way and must support multiple lines of business at once. In those cases, we suggest no more than three Guidepoints at once for the team, or they’ll quickly lose focus. If this becomes problematic, the marketing owner on the team will need to work with key leaders to determine the most important business goals for the organization and prioritize them accordingly. Some teams have had great success determining percentages of time each stakeholder gets based on the business value of their line of business.

We can only succeed for a clear, focused outlook on what success looks like for the marketing team and the organization as a whole.


Many marketers struggle to apply agile marketing in a way that adds value to team members. Learn how to break that pattern in this free e-book, “MarTech’s Guide to agile marketing for teams”.

Click here to download!



Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily MarTech. Staff authors are listed here.


About The Author

Stacey knows what it’s like to be a marketer, after all, she’s one of the few agile coaches and trainers that got her start there. After graduating from journalism school, she worked as a content writer, strategist, director and adjunct marketing professor. She became passionate about agile as a better way to work in 2012 when she experimented with it for an ad agency client. Since then she has been a scrum master, agile coach and has helped with numerous agile transformations with teams across the globe. Stacey speaks at several agile conferences, has more certs to her name than she can remember and loves to practice agile at home with her family. As a lifelong Minnesotan, she recently relocated to North Carolina where she’s busy learning how to cook grits and say “y’all.”



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How to Write a Request for Proposal with Template and Sample

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How to Write a Request for Proposal with Template and Sample


Whether you’re working for a small agency or a major marketing firm, you’re probably eventually going to need to fill out a Request for Proposal, or RFP.

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