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How to handle negative attention on social media

By Yulia Dianova

37189877_sPR can show you how to come out on top

Social media is a very dynamic environment in which people respond quickly and in real time. Your content can go viral in a matter of minutes. When that happens, it increases your brand awareness and provides some great PR opportunities. But things can go south, too, and your content could attract a slew of negative comments. The situation could even escalate enough to damage your brand name.

What do you do when your social media posts receive so many negative responses that your own content no longer stands out from the clutter of those unflattering comments?

Take swift action

First, find out if the negative comments are valid. Of course you never want to do anything to invite negative comments, so if there is a valid reason for the criticism, you need to fix the problem. Even if the negative comments are out of left field and only serve to provoke a negative reaction from you, you need to keep calm. Some people who leave negative comments often just want to get a rise out of you. Ignore the trolls. It’s best to pay no attention to the commenters who are inflammatory for the sake of attention. They will eventually get bored and move on to a new target.

Do not delete negative comments unless they contain offensive or inappropriate language (including racist or discriminatory statements). You can also block spammers and off-topic comments. However, when you delete any old negative comment aimed at your company only so that others won’t see it, you only agitate the commenter and make the rest of your audience think you have something to hide. It will encourage angry commenters to simply continue the “conversation” on a different platform.

You need to act quickly. News travels fast on social media. It is important that you respond to negativity in a prompt and rational manner to avoid an all-out crisis.

Take detailed notes

Document and archive all negative interactions taking place in case they escalate to legal proportions. There are multiple ways to do that, including screen captures and numerous apps and online services.

Make sure your social media content always stands out from any negativity that may surround it; set up a positive and professional tone for all of your posts. Your content should be high-quality, professionally written and posted at the best time of day for your audiences to see it. Use eye-catching visuals like photos and videos to support your writing.

Enlist help from the experts

Social media is a great tool for promoting your brand – if you use it correctly. Too many negative comments can easily destroy your brand reputation. Learning how to handle negativity and criticism in a professional manner on social media should be a part of your overall social media strategy.

At Axia Public Relations, we can help you create a plan of action for effectively managing your reputation online. Download our Online Reputation Management e-book to learn more about accomplishing this essential task.

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YuliaYulia Dianova is a public relations professional who is skilled in building relationships with target audiences. She provides counsel to organizations that seek PR help to further their growth and reach their goals. Yulia earned a master’s degree in public relations management from University of Maryland University College. She is fluent in Russian and English and is always looking for a new challenge.


Featured image credit: 123rf.com




Topics: public relations, reputation management, online reputation management, shared media

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