Dealing with Negativity on Social Networks

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October 16, 2012 by Scott Innes

Negativity on social networks will always exist as long as the social media vehicle also exists. Firms must know how to deal with all the negativity properly or prepared to be flamed by the online community. There are proper ways to deal with it to either save face or settle down the buzz.

The first thing to understand is that the online community knows that a post made by a viewer does not represent the company at all. We are in an age where this is understood. What will represent the company is the response. Laurel Popworth has written 8 ways to deal with negative comments in an online community: ignore, legal, deflect, remove, educate, confess, fight, and own. Each way has positive and negative effects. Popworth stresses the fact that each way has its place. What will work once will not necessary work a second time or even for a different firm.

One of the most useful tips to deal to negativity is to keep emotions intact, as noted on socialmediatoday’s page. Social media is much like real social activities. There will be nothing gained from flipping out over a network where you hardly know the people. Also, don’t have an automated response to negativity. This represents no care to the community.

A good example to not handle negativity in social media is the #Mcfail hashtag that is going around Twitter. McDonald’s. Basically, McDonalds decided to interfere with the negative community by attempting to educate them about their organic potato farms. The campaign became a lightning rod for a backlog of negative public brand sentiment. Consumers began using the hashtag as a vehicle to advocate against McDonald’s by highlighting accusations ranging from drug use to food poisoning. Although educating is a good way to deal with negativity, it was not this time.

Negative comments on social networks are not easy to see. However, there are ways to deal with it so to actually benefit from the experience. It’s all about know when to say what.


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