Turning a Negative Into a Positive: How Dealing with Angry Followers Can Build Your Brand


Georgia Dueck

One of our biggest goals when we work with clients on their social media marketing is to establish and nurture greater engagement from their followers through meaningful content. More than ever, followers have high expectations from the brands they follow and will be quick to tell you if something is wrong, especially now that they have so many channels to give feedback. While we love to see the positive comments, no account is immune to negativity, and we’ve navigated our fair share of upset followers. 

Today, we’re giving some insight on how we respond to angry comments, and how you can apply this to your own brands, and how our public relations approach helps not only to craft a message, but to also manage public perception, too.

Pay Attention

Actively checking your accounts and notifications regularly is crucial to catch a problem before it escalates. The only thing that makes an angry follower more upset is ignoring them. As a consumer, you’ve likely experienced this yourself. As soon as you notice someone has left a negative comment on a post, it’s time to respond.

Public VS Private

We will often try to solve the issue publicly before we message them to continue the conversation privately, but we always acknowledge and respond to their public comment. Moving the conversation to your messages not only helps keep track of the conversation, it also gives you the opportunity to dig deeper and discover the root of the problem. Use your discretion here, if you can solve someone’s issue easily and publicly, it can work to your advantage by showing you have great customer service and can help to build your credibility. But if it’s more complex or sensitive in nature, a private conversation may be more appropriate for solving the problem.

Acknowledge and Understand

Make sure the person you are speaking to feels that their complaint is valid and that they have been heard. When working out a solution in DMs, getting their contact information and connecting them with the right person to solve their problem can turn an upset follower into a new fan and avid supporter. Responses like, “we agree, this doesn’t sound right! We’ve sent you a message to get to the bottom of it,” or, “let’s fix this together. Check your DMs,” make your followers feel that their problem is real and you care about solving it.

Often, the followers who you help after a negative experience will turn into your biggest fans and share how you successfully resolved their problem with their friends and family. Think about the last time you received really terrible or excellent service; it’s something we love to talk about. Turning a negative into a positive is not only a good way to keep that follower a fan of yours, it’s a great way to attract new customers. Consumers have much higher expectations from the brands they engage with, so, use this to your advantage and raise the bar.

Angry followers can be scary, but they don’t have to be. When handled properly and with care, what could have been a disaster can turn into an opportunity to build trust in your brand. So, when you see that comment, take a deep breath and get to work – you can do this!

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