Four Ways to Combat Audience Negativity on Social Media

It can be disheartening opening up your channels on a Monday morning and seeing a wave of negative comments flooding your notifications. Trust me, we’ve all been there before on the community management team — audience negativity is an inevitable part of being in social media. But what ultimately sets a community manager apart is not just how she handles normal or positive engagements; the greater challenge is finding a way to respond appropriately to negative feedback. Let’s go over four ways you can manage this common issue.


Always Respond

From a community management perspective, I can’t emphasize this enough: always respond to questions or comments, even if they’re negative towards the brand or a particular piece of content. You wouldn’t ignore someone’s complaint or concern in real life, would you? The same goes for social media. Think of this as your chance to change the narrative your audience has created. Read complaints fully and be sure to address every issue the user has brought up—this way, you can provide a personalized response that may just change someone’s mind about your brand. You can never win everyone over all of the time, but you can’t say you didn’t try, either!

Go Beyond Apologies

A well-intentioned apology goes a long way in real life. But, on social, a brand’s generic apology can come off as hollow and insincere without any additional action or context. Show that you’re truly invested in your community and that its members’ opinions and experiences matter by not only offering an apology, but a solution as well. What a solution looks like will vary depending on the circumstances and what the brand is willing to do, but it’s worth discussing Surprise & Delight initiatives with your client to placate upset or angry fans. Going a step beyond with apologies is what keeps customers coming back again and again to your brand and can result in a lifelong positive impact.

Be Flexible and Make Adjustments

Perhaps a content series you’re doing or a specific post has flopped on your brand’s channel, and it’s getting negative attention. While I know it can be difficult to not take negative comments personally (after all, you put time, dedication, and effort into creating your content), it’s imperative you take the constructive criticism and adjust your content in a way that produces more positive feedback from your community. It’s a learning opportunity to understand what makes your audience tick and why. Such insights are critical to best in class community management.

Take The Conversation Elsewhere

Negative Nancies and Debbie Downers sure can be persistent. If you’re encountering particularly adverse or hostile feedback that isn’t getting solved effectively, go ahead and ask the person to send you a private message or email. This way, you get to continue the conversation in a less public space and you avoid drawing unwanted attention to the issue at hand. A one-to-one environment like private messages might also pacify the individual since they feel they’re getting the consideration they deserve. If your Negative Nancies turn into ugly trolls or spammers, consider laying down the law and blocking them from your page. You don’t need that kind of negativity in your life!


Still feeling uncertain about how to effectively combat audience negativity on your social channels? Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us and create a plan of action!

Ignite Social Media