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A guide for how brands can respond to positive and negative comments on social media

Michael Waters
June 30, 2022
Mastering social media is a craft - especially when it comes to responding to comments. Get best practices in here.

As more shoppers buy products off of social media, platforms like Instagram and TikTok are becoming the main way that your customers interact with you. Your customers will often take to the comments to pose questions about your products or shipping speeds. To adapt to this new reality, brands need to become savvy social media commenters.

Customers place a lot of importance on what brands say to them directly, including in the comments on social media. 59% of customers said that conversations with brands—meaning comments, emails, and DMs—were more persuasive than anything brands said in their ads, according to a study by the research firm Edelman.

Here are some tips for how you can engage with both positive and negative customer comments on social media:

#1. Know when to choose between public versus private interactions. 

You can break out most comments you receive into two different categories. 

Check out these refund email templates that customer service team needs on standby.

#2: Whatever you do, respond quickly. 

Customers will often take to the social media comments as a last resort, when they’ve already tried other routes and have had trouble getting in touch with your brand. 

That means, when you do leave comments, you also have to hop in the replies quickly: according to one recent survey, 90% of millennials said they expect brands to answer comments within a day, and a full 44% wanted replies within an hour.

#3. Always offer a DM check-in.

You can almost never go wrong offering to switch over to DM to check the status of a customer’s issue. Even if you can’t fully resolve the issue in a quick DM, you can at least make your customer feel like their issue is being attended to, and will get resolved shortly.  

When a user commented on a post by the direct-to-consumer brand The Sill asking about the status of her customer service inquiry, The Sill responded, “Our current response time is about 2-3 days but you can feel free to DM us your email and order number and we'd love to help!” 

Even if The Sill couldn’t resolve the issue right in the DM, it can at least make the customer feel more confident that they will get a quick answer, by letting them know where their customer service inquiry is in the queue.  

#4. Consider hiding or deleting negative comments—but sparingly. 

If the comment is so negative that there isn’t room for you to engage with it in a constructive way, you might consider hiding it to your followers. On Instagram, you can do this by clicking the comment and selecting “Restrict [user],” which means that all of their comments will be visible to them and to you but not to the general public. 

In more extreme cases, you could consider deleting the comment outright. You should only do this sparingly, however, because deleting a comment also runs the risk of upsetting the commenter—and potentially encouraging them to leave bad reviews elsewhere. You should delete comments only if they are spam or if they include profanity or other potentially offensive content.

#5. Set up advanced comment filtering. 

A great way to ensure that offensive comments don’t linger underneath a post by your brand is to create an automatic comment filter. On Instagram, you can turn on “advanced comment filtering,” which will automatically hide a range of comments that include potentially offensive content, excluding comments from people you follow. 

You can also add custom words or phrases of your own, so that if those words or phrases appear in a comment, Instagram will automatically hide it. 

Download 24 Free Templates for Responding to Customers

#6. Respond to positive comments with more details about the product. 

Positive comments are, thankfully, much easier to answer than negative ones. When someone leaves a positive comment, you can either say thank you or make a joke in response. For instance, Taco Bell, which is known for its sense of humor online, answered a tongue-in-cheek comment that said, “Funny how you can post but not text me back” with the eyes emoji, in order to keep the joke alive.

Another option is to tell the customer a little bit more about the product that is featured, in the hopes of getting them to make a purchase. For instance, when Bloomscape posted a photo of a plant in someone’s apartment, a user commented that it was “beautiful.” Bloomscape replied to the comment, letting them know that it’s the Schefflera Arboricola, in case they wanted to make a purchase.

#7. Hire real fans of your product. 

When you are doing customer service in the comments, you want to make sure that you have hired customer support teams who know the ins and outs of your product and your industry. When you work with Chatdesk, you ensure that your customer support staff is made up of Superfans of your brand, who already know the ins and outs of your products. Chatdesk also offers a slate of Experts who are licensed cosmetologists, beauty experts, and more. 

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