How to Respond to Negative Comments on Social Media

By October 12, 2017 March 24th, 2024 Common Business Problems

Last Updated on March 24, 2024 by Dave Schoenbeck

Recently, I’ve been working with two clients who are dealing with inaccurate, malicious, and merely negative comments on social media. This is a challenging situation for any business owner or leader.

A businesswoman looks at her phone and grimaces, depicting how she will respond to negative comments on social media

Our immediate instinct is to defend ourselves and our reputation. However, this reaction doesn’t always work out to our benefit. Though challenging, taking the high road and replying graciously is the right way.

Here are four ways to respond to negative comments on social media:

1. Respond quickly and professionally with genuine interest.

This isn’t your personal Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter profile. One of the worst things you can do is ignore the comment entirely! If you don’t respond, you suddenly appear to have something to hide or be ashamed of.

You don’t always have to get in too deep when replying. If someone has complained of a bad customer experience, it’s okay to go with something like, “Thanks for your comment. We will look into what caused your bad experience. This isn’t how we run our business or what we stand for.”

Please use your own words and remember to be genuine in your response, regardless of how specific you choose to be.

2. Contact the author of the post privately.

Remember: Don’t just ignore what happened on your wall.

Please respond to the negative comment and assure the poster that you’re contacting them privately to offer help. Don’t wait long to do this! Post your public response and immediately reach out by sending them a direct message.

3. Offer a heartfelt apology and a particular, valuable solution.

Apologies are the most important thing to do when you respond to negative comments on social media.

Ask your customer how you can improve their experience. If it’s within reason, don’t hesitate to do it. Please make a point to follow up within the week to ensure they’re still happy with the outcome and that you’ve done all you can to keep them as a customer in the future.

If their ask is extraordinary or outside what you feel is fair, be patient and understanding and offer an alternative. Remember to keep your cool and approach the situation with grace.

4. Ask the now-happy customer to remove their original negative post and consider writing a new positive one.

Asking for a retraction can be difficult and feel awkward, especially if your efforts to turn your unhappy customer into a delighted one don’t go as well as you’d hoped.

I think the best thing you can do is apologize and sincerely offer to make things right. Sadly, that’s not always enough for some folks.

If you feel comfortable and have righted the wrong, could you ask the customer to remove their original comment? However, do not delete it on your own. This, too, can damage your reputation in the same way that ignoring a complaint can.

Follow up within a few days and ask if they would be willing to write a new supportive post. Treat a “complaint update post” like a referral opportunity: Ask your customers to explain their poor experience before and how you fixed it for them to show you further honestly care about your clients’ needs.

Responding to negative comments on social media can be intimidating. Please remember to keep a cool head and a patient spirit as you work with your customers to find a solution. You’ll stand a better chance of turning an unhappy customer into an even bigger fan by being attentive and helpful.

You can win loyalty by having a valuable and accurate dialogue with your clients. Please complete my contact form for a complimentary coaching session about your most significant opportunity.

Coach Dave


Dave Schoenbeck
Follow Dave