Negative Social Media Reviews: How Should You Handle Them?

by | Last updated Jun 21, 2022 | Digital Marketing

Read Time: 4 min read

Summary: TL;DR: Bad reviews are inevitable online, but deleting or ignoring them can harm your brand's reputation. Responding to reviews, both good and bad, is crucial for building loyalty and trust with customers. Transparency on social media is key, with 86% of Americans valuing it highly. When handling negative reviews, respond promptly, acknowledge the issue, and keep the conversation public initially. Move to direct messages for further resolution. Even fake reviews should be addressed calmly and publicly. Dealing with negative feedback is part of owning a business, but with the right approach, you can turn dissatisfied customers into loyal ones. Stay active on social media and keep engaging with reviews to maintain a positive brand image.

Getting bad reviews sucks. They’re uncomfortable to deal with and induce anxiety for any business owner, manager, or social media strategist. That’s why learning how to respond to these reviews is a must if you want to thrive as a brand online. And with more and more customers consulting social media to make buying decisions, you can’t afford to go offline.

Here’s what you need to know to help your business succeed if, and when, your brand receives any negative reviews on social media.

Understanding the Basics of Online Reviews

Receiving bad public reviews of your brand are a risk you take when establishing an online presence. If left unattended, they can seriously hurt your brand’s reputation. So why not just delete or ignore them, right?

Wrong. Removing a review erodes the trust between your brand and its customers (There are a few exceptions in which you should work to delete reviews, but we’ll get to that later). Ignoring a customer review is a response—it says you don’t care.

The better option is to see bad reviews as an opportunity to change the conversation. Responding to reviews can lead to higher loyalty and customer retention, as it demonstrates that your brand cares about resolving issues and addressing customer concerns.

On top of that, customers expect more transparency in social media interactions:

  • 86% of Americans say transparency on social media is more important than ever before
  • 53% of consumers expect brands to be transparent about product/service changes

brands get real chart from sprout social

Graph via Sprout Social

How to Respond to Good Reviews

Good reviews are always great to receive. Someone loved their experience so much that they wanted to tell everyone about it. Similar to bad reviews, don’t let good reviews go unnoticed. Reinforce the behavior of providing positive reviews by liking and responding to that review. For example:

“Thank you for your kind words, Michelle. We loved being a part of your 50th birthday party. We hope to see you again soon!”

Keep your appreciation brief, though. Over-thanking can feel disingenuous. A quick thank you—made personal by using their name and reiterating what they’re thanking you for—and offering a hopeful message of doing business again is truly all you need.

How to Respond to Bad Reviews

A bad review is an opportunity to learn more about your brand. People are usually complaining for a reason. Did they wait 30 minutes before they saw a server at your restaurant? Maybe there’s a staff training issue you need to address. Did the product they receive not match the description offered online? You may need to update your product descriptions.

No matter what the negative review says, you need to be proactive about handling them. Here are some tips for responding to negative reviews…

Respond ASAP

Try to respond to reviews within 12-24 hours. This is important because most consumers expect a response from the brand they’re interacting with within as little as four hours. You need to be attentive and engaged—after all, this is the first step in turning their experience around.

Acknowledge & Apologize

Sometimes, these negative Facebook reviews can feel like a personal attack, especially if you own the business on the receiving end. It’s easy to ignore the message or even push back at the reviewer. But try to stay calm and avoid being defensive. You want the reviewer to know you read the message, understand their issue, and want to make it better.

“Hi, Chad. Thank you for your feedback. We’re sorry to hear you were unhappy with your dining experience…”

Keep It Public at First

If a negative message comes in the form of a Facebook post comment, you have the option to respond to reviews and comments privately, but don’t move the interaction to your inbox right away. Other commenters need to see that you’re handling the situation.

replying to bad reviews on facebook

“Chad, we’d like to learn more about your experience. Could you please send us a direct message ( with more information on your recent visit?”

Move to Direct Message

Take the conversation into a private message by requesting more details or contact information. We suggest that you try to get the customer to initiate the direct message.

To help with this, Facebook allows pages to deep link to their direct messages using the URL structure in the sample reply above. The part after the forward slash is your Page’s URL/username, (i.e., what comes after when you’re on your Page.)

What About Fake Reviews?

Something you may encounter is a fake review. But how do you fix a problem that isn’t real? 79% percent of customers have read a false review, but most can’t identify one. That’s why you need to treat it like any other review. Investigate, get to the bottom of the issue, and calmly correct any misinformation publicly. However, you can request Facebook to delete the review if it’s laden with expletives and irrelevant content.

report fake reviews on facebook

Dealing with negative reviews is a normal part of owning a business and having an online presence. With the right tools and right techniques, you can turn disappointed customers into happy, loyal customers. If not, make it a point to stay active on social media and keep responding to all reviews. Hopefully, the next time you get negative feedback, it will turn into the positive you hoped for.

Need help with your social media presence and managing your online reviews? Contact Hurrdat today! We offer social media marketing services and can implement a review strategy to avoid brand reputation issues.

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