Social Media Management: How to respond to comments

Social media is all about engaging with your audience, but it’s not always easy to know the best way to interact with customers online as a brand. We’ve put together a quick guide on the different types of social media comments you’ll receive and the best ways to respond to them.

"Do I really need to respond to comments?"

Yes, yes you do! One of the main goals of social media management is building a brand community that engages your audience, and responding to social media comments is a vital part of that. They give you a chance to connect with your followers, build your reputation, fix mistakes and help your audience feel that your brand cares about them.

How to handle different types of posts:

🙂Positive

When someone responds to one of your posts or mentions your brand positively, you always want to acknowledge the post and thank them for it. Let the person know you appreciate them and their positive message.

A quick “thank you” is all that’s needed to add to the warm, fuzzy glow surrounding your brand that the consumer already felt.

😶Neutral

These are the vast majority of the comments that you’ll have on your feed. It could be someone asking a question, commenting on the product, post or photo, or even tagging a friend to bring it to their attention.

Based on what the comment says, try to take this as an opportunity to engage the commenter, either by striking up a conversation or asking a related question. Take advantage of the unique one-on-one space that social media offers to your brand! It makes your audience feel heard and is a great way to make someone’s journey with you feel special.

🙁Negative

These are the ones that make most brands go cold. What should you do — Ignore? Delete? Appease? This depends on the nature of the comment.

Resolving issues like problems with orders or products can help turn a negative post into a satisfied customer - social media is an extension of customer service these days. Comments can also be a source of insight into larger issues your brand needs to take action on: recurring complaints help identify a defective product batch or a critical flaw in your service. Tempting as it might be, do not erase these comments as it can make it look like you have something to hide. 

Unfortunately, negative comments from online “trolls” who are simply trying to stir things up are an inescapable part of social media. This includes comments with an aggressive tone, unwarranted criticism, questioning of your company’s conduct, or messages targeted at specific individuals. If your brand hasn’t done anything wrong, these are best to ignore or report, depending on the severity of the message. You may also want to ban or block repeat trolls. If messages targeting an individual cause you to suspect someone may be in danger, you should also inform the police.

😱Comments related to a crisis

A crisis for a brand’s social media account could be a major global issue that’s affecting customers (political, environmental, health etc.), or a time when your brand might be facing a situation that has caused a backlash. This is not the same as ‘typical’ negative comments in that the team is likely facing an unusually high volume of interactions, and snowballing negative press may cause reputation damage.

Crisis management is an important part of your social media strategy to have in place in advance of these situations. You need guidelines to protect your brand’s reputation and retain customers. While you’ll need to develop a fully documented crisis management plan, there are a few basic steps you can keep in mind and communicate to your team. For example, take screenshots of relevant comments and make sure they’re sent to your HR, legal, or senior management so they can be fully handled appropriately and everyone is aware of what's happening.

Feel like you’ve got comments covered now? Head over to our blog on how to identify your target audience to make sure you’re talking to the right people with the right strategy!