6 Tips On How to Handle Negative Online Feedback

We all hear people saying “Don’t read the comments”, “Ignore that negative feedback and it will all go away”. And while in some situations it may make sense, in general it can create
a lot of problems. After all your online presence can build you up or bring you down. Dealing with negative feedback is a key instrument in creating the image of your brand. There are different situations, different people and different ways to handle such circumstances. It all depends on how you want your brand to be perceived. However, there are few easy tips that can help you when situation gets tough.

  1. First of all, Avoid Arguing. Getting into an argument with someone who is already upset can only generate a downward spiral. You don’t want to prove that you’re right at any cost. Every time you need to remember that while dealing with this particular incident you’re creating an impression of what your brand stands for. So you don’t want it to be associated with quarrels, stubbornness and negativity. The beauty of social media and internet in general is that it allows us to communicate more freely and reach where we couldn’t reach before. It applies to getting feedback as well. And while it allows some people to spread negativity and at the same time provides them with some sort of anonymity, it also gives us a chance to react and interact with others. Stop looking at negative feedback as a curse and start perceiving it as an opportunity to connect and spread the knowledge about your brand.
  2. Stay Positive. No one likes the negative person. It’s a sad truth. We all want to surround ourselves with happy and positive people who can lift us up. Same applies to brands. People want to connect and identify with positive brands. And while putting inspiring, educative and fun content is extremely important, the way that you handle online feedback and especially negative one, says a lot about you. Sure it can be hard to stay positive in such situations, however being so, can really pay off. Most people spread negative feedback due to their own experience. And even if you can’t change that, you can still ensure that their future encounter with your brand will be as good as it can be. By doing so you can create strong relations with your audience and establish an image of an attentive and caring brand.
  3. Focus on what you can control. Getting negative reactions online can be stressful. We all want to put ourselves in the best possible light and when others don’t see us that way it can be tough to handle. But dwelling on the whole situation makes no sense. Think of what you can do to improve and focus on that. Try to solve the problem that caused the negative feedback and let the person who addressed the issue know that you heard him/her and are working on it. Always try to find a way to relate to person spreading the negative feedback and take control of the situation in a positive way by joining the conversation and if necessary explaining what needs to be explained.
  4. And that leads us to the next tip-Learn. Every feedback can be a good feedback. It all depends on how you react to it. Sure it’s nice to hear that you’re doing great and everyone loves you. However, even though it’s nice in the long run it takes you nowhere. If you want to grow and get better you need to know where you can improve and how you can do it. And that’s exactly what negative feedback provides you with. So be thankful that your audience cares enough to share and not just keep it to themselves and never again come back to you. Treat it like an opportunity to get better, to get closer with your audience and to learn. But in order to do that you need to be present, attentive and open. So respond and if you don’t understand ask questions. Show that you care and are willing to help. Take the lesson and draw conclusions.
  5. Be Helpful and Empathetic. When you know what went wrong you can react. You have the power to turn the situation around. But most importantly you can create a personal bond with your audience. Get to know them. React. Respond. Maybe even be the one who starts the conversation. Remember to always, always, always, put yourself in the other person shoes. Try to understand where they’re coming from and ask yourself how can you help. How you can improve your service or customer relations. The power of empathy is incredible. It can change the biggest skeptic to the greatest fan. And you have that power. But first, you have to be able to listen even if the things people are saying about you are not what you want to hear. And then the harder part, you have to engage. Be the part of the conversation that concerns you. Listen to what people are saying about you and if possible help. This can take many forms. Some may not understand you or your products, others may encounter some communication problems. In every case show that you care. Even if you can give and answer right this second let them know that you listened and will do whatever you can to help.
  6. If nothing works- Ignore. We started with the “don’t ignore” and now I’m telling you to do otherwise?  Well, sometimes you have to. But it’s the last resort. Very, very, last. When nothing works and you can honestly say that you have tried listening, understanding and helping, and it didn’t work, then it’s time to move on. If the feedback is not only negative but also not constructive and even pointless, the only thing you can do is to ignore. It may be hard. But as we discussed earlier, dwelling on the situation you can’t change doesn’t do you any good. Furthermore, it can only bring you down. So when all the points above fail, you need to accept that some people are negative only for the sake of being negative. Move on and focus on those whom you can help and from who you can learn.

Being present and connecting with your audience can be your greatest branding tool. And even though the negative feedback can be overwhelming sometimes, with the right attitude
it also can be an opportunity to grow and create personal bounds with your audience. When people see that you care, take time to listen to them and try to help, they feel special and appreciated. Isn’t it how we all want to feel? This kind of positive connection with a brand stays in your mind for a long time.

Dealing with negative feedback can be hard and stressful. And sure there will be people who will spread negativity just for the fun of it, but in most cases behind those negative comments is possibility to improve and faithful audience to gain.


Marta Janczewska-Bażak