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social media comments and responses

How And When To Respond To Negative Social Media Comments

Knowing how to respond to negative social media comments is vital. It sounds ridiculous, but it will save your reputation and your digital marketing career. This is a tool I came up with when I was working with a C-Suite that strongly believed every tweet required a response. We needed to find a way to “rate” tweets as response-worthy or ignore-worthy. After educating the C-Suite on what makes a tweet-worthy versus unworthy of response, they were able to put their phones down and finally let some things go.

There are three main ways to create a quick one-pager to reference whenever a negative comment or tweet pops up. I like to use all three together, especially when working with a new team on social media and learning all about bots and trolls who thrive on beating up others online.

The #1 question you want to ask before you use ANY type is whether or not you can add value by responding. This question helps identify whether you are responding from a professional place or an egotistical place. Believe me, we all have moments where our egos rear their ugly heads, especially when we feel like we are personally being attacked in a public online space. However, responding from your ego is how a screenshot of your response ends up on the top of a “what not to do” article.

To genuinely add value, you need to see a solution for what the commenter is upset about. Are you actually able to send them the right size? Probably. You can solve that comment. Are you able to get them to hate you any less? Probably not. It’s best not to draw any more attention than necessary to the negative comment.

Once you have answered that question and you believe that you can add value to the negative commenter, start with a decision tree like the one I use with my clients below:

Ivory Doughnut Illustration Decision Tree Chart.png

This decision tree helps to put the comment into context. Suddenly, you, or your C-Suite, will have a greater perspective of why it’s best to either respond or not respond.

Another tool that it’s beneficial is the Response Meter. This is ideal for a very emotional person to use because it rates the tweets in regards to emotions, highly emphasizing that there is an emotional point where you cannot respond to the comment, or you will be entering a public fistfight.

responding to social media comments

For the very visual learner, I like to use the Respond Meter with a tailored version that uses real examples of the clients’ tweets. This helps to illustrate what “do not respond” comments look like compared to “maybe respond” compared to “yes, respond” comments.

social media comments

I have used all three of these tools to prevent many crises. They are also perfect for crisis comm because they bring everyone to a rational place regarding what to respond to and what to ignore. I’ve used these in situations where extra hands needed to come in and help with crisis comm. All I did was give them a brief overview and a copy of these tools, and teammates who had never touched our social media nor digital marketing were able to clearly identify what comments to bring to my attention versus which to ignore.

I hope that these tools can help you, whether you need them for yourself or your C-Suite.

As one of my favorite quotes by Rachel Walchin goes, “Maturing is realizing how many things don’t require your comment.”

– Marji J. Sherman

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