The digital world we see, through our eyes on social media platforms, shows us content that appeases most of our emotional requirements. Right from funny videos on Tik-Tok and Instagram Reels, to heartwarming videos shedding light on life and relationships, as well as, polarising content on politics and healthcare.
Although it may seem that the platform is trying to elicit some kind of a response from the audience, in whichever form and feeling, whatever we experience is super-transient. It just lasts for the 15-30 seconds that the video lasts, the 5 minutes of article reading time, or the 2 seconds we take to read a tweet.
The thing is, humans don't function that way. Also, social media has set down an unspoken rule as to what kind of posts are going to garner more engagement. As such, we often see that people who are being very transparent on social media being mocked and ridiculed for their openness. The world is moving too fast to dwell in their moment of pain or sheer happiness.
What can a marketer do in such cases?
As a marketer you will face this struggle more often than individual content creators. You will find yourself caught in the constant web of "How is this going to play out?" more than once. As such, you might feel stuck and your creativity blocked.
But the beauty of this fear is that it helps you churn out content that is as foolproof as possible. Right from avoiding grammatical errors to staying away from making controversial statements, assumptions, or declarations, that can harm your brand over the long term.
So, use the fear to your advantage. Make it your weapon. No matter what you post, there will be people who might see your post from their own perspective and might end up disagreeing.
Don't take this personally. Graciously accept their comment and thank them for it. If you find their comment irrational and you feel like giving them back a piece of your mind, immediately switch your gears and start seeing that comment or angry emoji as engagement. The platform they are posting on isn't reading the comment. They are seeing it as an engagement with your brand, which is good.
See it as a win and move on.
How to deal with negative comments online?
One thing I saw some my clients do before I took over their PR and marketing was that they actively engaged with these negative comments. They were either trying to either show them reasons and explain their actions or they were engaging in an open word-fight with the person who made the comment. Yet another thing they would do is delete the bad comments.
These are things that you SHOULD NOT do ever. Even if you don't believe in the words "The Customer is Always Right," try to keep calm because what you are building is way bigger and needs oodles of patience to start with.
❌ Don't actively engage with negative comments
❌ Don't try to explain your actions
❌ Don't engage in an open word-fight
❌ Don't delete the bad comments
Here's what you should do instead.
Thank the person for commenting and sharing their experience. This is no way means that you are accepting what they are saying is right but a way of acknowledging their comment and that you have seen it and are addressing it.
Next, apologise to them for having to go through the harassment. Again, this is personal to them. Even though you don't agree, it's okay to say sorry because clearly they are feeling harassed in some way or the other.
Next, very gently but confidently, reply with the specifics of their order and issue and what really happened to create the bad blood between you two. Use specific details (like order number, dates, etc.) and state the issue very gently in the comments. This helps other followers see the conversation and decide for themselves if you are right or wrong.
If you are in the right and what happened was a one off issue or mistake, then there's no reason for the others and the disgruntled customer to not understand.
You could also tell them that you are trying to contact them on messenger. If you don't want to have the conversation on the comment thread.
Keep in touch with them and try to right the wrong ASAP by roping in your sales and after sales team and finding out what went wrong.
✅ Thank the person for commenting
✅ Apologise for them having to go through the harassment
✅ Very gently but confidently, reply with the specifics of their order and issue and what really happened
✅ Move the conversation to messenger
Remember, sweeping things under the rug is never a good option. Address things fast and in a cool-headed manner and move on. View these comments as unwanted engagement but engagement nonetheless.
The internet is a tricky place. When you post something on social media, you are not only interacting with people who are your target audience, but also ones who are not. And the latter will not know that. So, the best way to manage your online communication is by being extremely thoughtful in your posts, comments, and any content you put out there, to ensure it is not hurtful to anyone and adds value to as many people as possible who come across it.
Empathy is key in every communication we have online or offline.
Looking for a way to build content and market it in a more thoughtful and responsible manner? Don't know where to begin? Book a free consultation with me and let's brainstorm some ways in which we can do so.