Many businesses see social media as a necessary evil–it’s a time eater, and most companies get frustrated when there’s not an automatic return on investment. Even worse, many businesses post and ghost–they’ve checked off what they needed to do (post on a social media platform today) but they don’t stick around (reply to the social media comments and interact with their audience).
This is the perfect way to destroy brand loyalty!
Remember, Social Media is social. Otherwise, it would be called One-Way-Street Media or Grandstanding Media or Monologue Media.
If you want to put the social back into Social Media, you must take time to engage with those who have left a comment. This means responding to positive, neutral, and yes, negative comments.
“Why? Why do I need to do this when I have a love-hate relationship with social media?” you may ask.
Because replying to comments is another form of customer service. If you neglect these social media comments, you are neglecting customer service. And that’s not a great look.
Responding to Positive Social Media Comments
For the sake of this discussion, we’re going to pretend we’re offering advice to a dog food company, Amazing Fantastic Dog Food (AFDF).
If someone leaves a comment on AFDF’s post/reel/video that says “I love your dog food so much!” this is considered a positive comment. This the perfect time to convert a satisfied customer into a loyal superfan!
Responses to this comment can vary depending on your company’s tone of voice, but remember to make it sincere and do NOT repeat this answer across customers. No one feels special if the answer itself isn’t special.
Possible responses might be:
- We love that you love it so much!
- Oh, we get so happy when we hear that. Thank you!!
- And our dog food wants to say, “Thank you, thank you very much.” (Our dog food is also an Elvis fan.)
Responding to Neutral Social Media Comments
Now let’s discuss neutral comments. Let’s say someone left a comment on AFDF’s post/reel/video that says “I just bought this yesterday.” This statement of fact is considered a neutral comment.
This is the time to leave a personal comment based on your brand’s tone and that doesn’t sound like AI wrote it. (How many times have you read the same comment copied and pasted over and over again in a comment thread? This does not build brand trust or loyalty.)
Possible responses might be:
- We hope your dog enjoys it!
- Let us know which flavor your pup enjoys most!
- We hope it becomes your dog’s favoritest of favorites!
Responding to Negative Social Media Comments
Now let’s discuss negative comments–which have a good side to them! There are three types of negative comments:
- Ones that leave a complaint about a person/product/service at the company.
- Ones that are complaints that have bad language.
- Ones that are spam comments (about some kind of crypto or miracle cure).
Let’s start from the bottom up. For #3, there’s no need to respond. We have all seen spam at this point and know it when we see it. Some social media gurus argue that keeping them in your comments is a good thing so that the algorithm sees the engagement.
Others say that you should apply a filter to your comments to keep these types of comments out (since having to weed through them could ruin/irritate your followers’ social media experience with you).
For #2, these are comments that need to be addressed, but again, by staying in your feed, they give your followers a negative experience having to see those word choices. You have the option to erase these comments BUT remember:
- It’s important that you need to leave a comment using that person’s handle saying that you are sorry about their experience and you have sent them a DM (Direct Message).
- Making heated conversations private helps others who have no skin in the game from chiming in.
For #1, this is your most important type of reply. Do not erase critical comments that have no bad language. It’s important that your followers know you can handle negative feedback and they want to see how you handle it! Many people love seeing drama on social media, and they’ll circle back to your feed to see how a critical comment was handled. (And yes, they may have even taken a screenshot of it!)
If you have a critical comment under a post about a service or product that only this person has been affected by (such as a case of dog food was dented when they received it):
- Offer an apology
- Ask them to contact you via DM so you can resolve it
If you receive a critical comment under a post about a person you just hired, and your follower says this person has a warrant for their arrest (or something else that takes you by surprise) keep the conversation public. Don’t answer straight away as you investigate the claim. Then, when you do respond:
- If you are finding that your business is getting a lot of attention and hate for an issue that your business is unfortunately linked to, such as having someone on staff who was just arrested, state in the comments you are aware of the issue and the company is handling it. Stay vague so you don’t get into legal trouble.
- If you are finding that your business is getting a lot of attention and hate for an issue that actually has nothing to do with your business, clarify in a public response that the commenter has made a mistake (e.g., a person with a similar name does have a warrant, but this John Smith is from Nevada and not Florida)
Some Last Important Thoughts for Commenting on Social Media
- Your responses don’t have to just be written responses. On platforms like TikTok and Instagram, you can leave video responses. One great positive for a video response is that you can pin this response at the top of your feed if it relates to a question or issue a lot of your customers are having. Another positive in creating a video response is that you can directly answer a commenter’s question or concern. This is easy content to create and it increases your engagement.
- You should reply to every comment (that’s not spamming you with crypto or miracle cure content!). When a follower knows a company responds, then a follower is more likely to leave a response! Now, if you’re a big company like Target or Netflix, there are too many comments to respond to comfortably. But these companies also have a dedicated Responder in Residence (this is our term) who is a professional snarky replier who makes certain responses become viral–adding to free marketing and brand loyalty!
- You should respond within 24 hours to a comment–or at least when you post again. If a person sees you’ve posted a new story or reel without having gotten a comment yet–well, that works as a strike against your brand.
Expert Tip: Make sure to respond to comments before you post to help the algorithm see your engagement to boost your new post!
Summing Up and Homework!
By commenting on social media posts that feature your company, you will help commenters know that you’re a company who cares enough to answer and is around to answer! You’re not just using social media as a checklist and who posts then ghosts–yay!!
Because, in the end, social media users who comment on your posts and receive comments back are more likely to attach positive feelings to these social interactions and strengthen how they feel about your brand. How great is that?!
HOMEWORK: Next time you post on any of your social media platforms:
- Scan to see if you’ve received comments. Reply!
- Look to see if you’ve been tagged. Reply/repost!
- Search for your company name or product that you were not tagged on. Reply/repost!
digit-ALL is a full-service marketing company that focuses on the people side of marketing. We focus on company branding, websites, social media, blogs, newsletters, and even corporate event planning. We’re here to help when you’re ready for it.
10 Tips for Responding to Comments on Your Brand’s Social Media, Stephen Claridge, VantageSearch.ca.
Ask Buffer: Should I Reply to Every Social Media Comment?, Sophie Gil, Buffer.com.
How to Deal With Negative Comments on Social Media, Pamela Vaughan, Hubspot.com.
How to Get More Comments on Your Social Media Posts, Dakota Shane, Inc.com.
How to Leverage Social Media to Build Brand Loyalty, Elyse Flynn Meyer, Forbes.com.
How to Use Instagram Comments to Turn People Into Customers, Anna Sonnenberg, SocialMediaExaminer.com.
Your Guide to Social Media Comments: How to Post and Respond, Chloe West, SproutSocial.com.