How to Respond to Your Social Mention: Positive, Negative, & Neutral

September 26, 2017 ・ 5 min read

What can you do with a social mention?

Whether you’re a small or mid-size business that collects dozens of social mentions per day, or a large company which gets tens of thousands of social mentions per day, what matters most is what you can do with a social mention.

How you respond to the very people who are behind each social mention: your customers, your clients, your users, and your fans?

There are a few types of social mentions: positive, negative, and neutral.

A positive social mention gives you an opportunity to show appreciation to the person behind it.

A negative social mention gives you an opportunity to potentially solve a problem. Or, it lets you display some sensitive smarts and show sympathy for customers who didn’t have good experiences.

A neutral social mention is an opportunity for you to collect feedback about your service or product that wouldn’t otherwise have been shared. Collect these social mentions for:

  • information on how to improve user experience
  • ideas about the changes to be made for the next version of your product
  • research on your target audience
  • a deeper look into the factors that influence purchase decisions

Whether it’s a positive social mention, a negative social mention, or a neutral social mention, each social mention is an opportunity for you to engage with your audience.

What’s the best way to collect social mentions?

Social mention tools are indispensable here. If you have a trusted tool, set up a project to monitor your brand now.

Brand24 is a highly recommended social mention tool to start with. The tool collects social mentions containing your keywords in real-time, and detailed Analysis reports are provided to help you gain a deeper understanding of the data.

Create your own social mention project to get notifications about real-time social mentions of your brand. Respond to each positive, negative, or neutral social mention. Analyze your social mentions with different filters to see where you land on the scale for social media reach, engagement, interactions, influence, sentiment, and more.

What to do with a positive social mention

If only every social mention could be ego-boosting flattery! Unfortunately, that’s not the case. But that only makes us appreciate each positive social mention even more.

DJ and record producer Alan Walker spends his entire day making music, but he still finds time to let his listeners know how much their support and opinions matter to him with posts like this on his social channels:

“Reading all your comments. Thanks for all the kind words, I’m glad you like it!”

If you’re still at the point where you think a positive social mention isn’t worth any response, just wait until you receive your first negative social mention.

Then, you may even be tempted to respond to each positive social mention individually. If your brand doesn’t generate too many social mentions yet and you can handle this, great!

Nothing beats personalization and individual attention.

If, however, you receive more than 400 comments & 16k likes from a single post, just take a cue from DJ Alan Walker and simply acknowledge that your listener, user, customer, or client has taken personal time to praise you in a social mention, and thank them for it!

What to do with a negative social mention

The example below is our favorite kind of negative social mention. A specific problem has been addressed, which gives us an opportunity to offer a solution:

The T-Mobile customer above is experiencing trouble with coverage, and unable to work because of this problem. They clearly anticipate a quick response from T-Mobile.

If you receive a negative social mention like this, which poses a problem that you can solve, fantastic!

Any viable problem has a viable solution. Just remember to respond with patience and kindness in your answer.

It’s understandable if you need time to find an answer, or to contact a colleague in a different department. But the person who posted the negative social mention will still appreciate a speedy response, even if it is just an initial message to let them know that you’ve seen the negative social mention.

Like the one T-Mobile provides in this example. (Remember to follow-up!)

What to do with a negative social mention

Now, what if the social mention is more of a scathing insult, and there isn’t a particular problem for you to solve? What should you do then?

A scathingly negative social mention is ruled by emotions. The customer who posted the negative social mention didn’t take personal time out of their day to do so because he or she had a wonderful and problem-free experience.

Whether the problem occurred with your company, a partner, retailer, supplier, or shipping services provider is irrelevant. In the eyes of the customer, you’re guilty by association.

The best way to handle a situation like this is to be direct and apologize.

Acknowledge any mistakes or oversight that may have occurred.

Be sympathetic and truly listen to your customers.

Document the exchange with this negative social mention so that you can learn from it, use it to train future employees, and improve the way that you handle situations like these in the future.

Here’s a guided infographic with more details on each step of the process for handling negative social mentions.

Don’t get upset if the customer doesn’t immediately change their tune afterwards.

Your goal isn’t to change their mind. When you’re handling any negative social mention, remember that:

  • If there is a specific problem mentioned, try to solve it.
  • If there isn’t a particular problem for you to solve, at least acknowledge that your customers did not have a positive experience, and apologize for their inconvenience.
  • If applicable, offer compensation or a small token as a gesture of your appreciation that personal time has been wasted.

What to do with a neutral social mention

A neutral social mention is an opportunity for you to collect feedback about your product. Take the example below:

While this social mention neither raves nor complains about the Lays’ vs. Doritos versions of wasabi chips, it provides relevant marketing information to both Lays and Doritos (both are actually part of the Frito-Lay family, but that’s another topic).

This neutral social mention shows Lays which other chips their consumers compare them to (Doritos), and the flavors that their customers enjoy (wasabi).

Collecting other social mentions like this (and unlike this) will give you access to all kinds of information that will be helpful to your market research.

Neutral social mentions can help you fill in the gaps and answer questions like:

  • Who is my target audience?
  • Who is my main competitor?
  • What do my customers like about my product?
  • What do my customers dislike about my product?
  • How can I improve my product?
  • Why do they choose my product?
  • Why do they choose my competitor’s product?

Why are social mentions important?

Any social mention, whether it’s a positive social mention, a negative social mention, or a neutral social mention, is an opportunity for you to engage with your audience. Albeit, using different approaches.

While all social mentions are not created equal, they are all important, and help your business grow in different ways.

If you haven’t already, create a free social mention project with Brand24. Collect and respond to each social mention about your brand so you can show your audience you appreciate them, see if your product has been a source of inconvenience, and find out what you and your brand look like from your audience’s perspective!