Negativity on social networks - who it affects and how to respond

Negativity on social networks - who it affects and how to respond

Content Writer: Martin Poston Martin Poston Digital Marketing Strategist

Facebook and other social networking sites can be a breeding ground for positive energy and help grow a brand through sharing, positive comments and useful information.

However, what happens when your social media efforts turn sour? Salesforce Rypple and Pew Internet recently released an infographic documenting how badly people behave on social media and the differences between teens' and adults' perceptions of such behavior.

For instance, adults are more likely to think that social media users are kind-hearted. Specifically, 85 percent of adults felt social media users were "mostly kind," compared to just 69 percent of teens. This can likely be traced back to lack of maturity, as teens are more prone to saying hurtful things to each other without thinking about the consequences.

When asked how often they saw people using language, images or humor on social networking sites that they found offensive, 38 percent of adults said "once in a while," 15 percent said "sometimes" while 35 percent said never. Thus, 73 percent of adults view social media positively, for the most part.

But sometimes, negatively will still arise on your social pages. Whether it's an angry Facebook post, an annoyed tweet or a lambasting review on Yelp, you need to handle such instances with both haste and grace to avoid any future conflict.

BizReport notes that in the event of a negative comment, keep your cool. Lashing out at posters without devising a sound response strategy can make your brand seem unprofessional and could spur further negative reactions. Instead, try stepping back from the situation to create a more collected response.

It's also recommended that you reply publicly, but keep responses concise.

"Show you are in control of the situation by publicly responding," explains the news source. "As well as being open, your reply may address questions that others have, but are not comfortable asking."

Also, most users won't bother to read lengthy, preachy responses to criticism, which may come off as sensitive or overreacting. Instead, stick to the facts and keep your emotions in check.

Don't let the negative comment linger, as this may seem like you're simply avoiding the issue. At least make some effort to respond that you're handling the situation even if you don't have anything to say at the moment - it's better than saying nothing at all.

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