Several years ago, controversial social media influencer Logan Paul posted a viral video in which he summed up negative comments by saying, “That’s engagement, bro.” While not the most insightful of phrases, it speaks to the way in which social media is often approached today. Influencers aren’t worried about whether they’re receiving positive or negative engagement, as long as they’re seeing engagement. Attention is attention. In this blog, we’ll talk about how, as a company, you can be better equipped to handle instances of negative customer engagement on social media.

Social Media Wants Conversation

Negative or positive engagement, it doesn’t matter. YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram don’t care about likes and dislikes. Algorithms care about overall engagements on a post. The most disliked YouTube videos will still reach the top if people are interacting with them. Reddit comments sections have a “Sort by Controversial” button. People love controversy, and that keeps them online.

So, social media platforms have a vested interest in promoting polarizing content that keeps conversations going. Depending on how a company wants to portray its brand, it may opt to spark debate through hot topics or by asking audience opinions on harmless subjects. This doesn’t need to involve taking a political stance in order to spark conversation. Companies may take a stance on which cereal is best, or the best way to fold a towel. It doesn’t have to be earth shattering; the internet has fought over less.

Customers Can Rally in Your Defense

Negative comments tend to bring out the worst in people, lobbing hate on a brand in a way people never would in person. These comments can bring your otherwise-silent fans to your defense. There’s little need to comment back as a company when some of your other followers have already shot down the hate comments. When someone leaves a negative comment with too much baseless hate, they’ve usually already lost, as far as your other followers are concerned.

Turn Around a Bad Customer Experience

One of the best parts about social media is that there is great opportunity to turn a bad customer experience into a good one. When receiving a negative comment, step one is to respond to it. Don’t let it sit and hope the problem disappears on its own. When responding, reply both in the comments section and in a direct message, if possible. Depending on the platform, you may need to ask the commenter to message you directly or email a support address.

With this approach, tone and patience are everything. This goes back to the old saying, “the squeaky wheel gets the grease”. Yes, the customer is being loud and may seek attention on purpose. However, the truth of the matter is that paying attention to these particular customers can potentially turn them into brand advocates. A negative incident can usually be turned around with exceptional customer service. Additionally, your other followers will see the results directly on social media, if the customer replies back to their original comment.