The Social Bite: 5 Rules for Handling Negative Social Feedback

The saying goes that “you can’t please everyone.” That may be true, but as a brand on social media, it is important to know how to react to negative feedback and have a plan in place to address it in a timely manner. So how do you prepare for the inevitable unwanted comment? Here are five rules to navigate the world of negative social feedback…

No one wants to see negative comments on their page or have failings broadcast for the world to see. The easy solution may seem to be deleting the offending posts, but in many ways this can do more harm than good.  Commenters are likely to come back more determined than before and point out the deletion. Deleting comments and posts also portrays the brand as disingenuous and deceptive in hiding negative feedback. However, if the posted content is deemed inappropriate for your audience, an exception may be made. Make sure it is noted on your page that this type of content will not be tolerated (see our post on Social Media Watch Outs for more information).

There are those posters who are simply trolling brands looking for a reaction, but there are also consumers who are genuinely looking for a brand’s response. Trolls commenting with inaccurate or disparaging content can be responded to with correct information or links to content that addresses their comment. Posts that are negative but not directly damaging (i.e. Company A is awful, Company B is awesome) do not necessarily have to be addressed. Consumer complaints should be addressed directly. However, take the conversation off the public space. Respond to the original comment in the public stream to show response and then dedicate a one on one conversation to resolve the matter. Doing so shows the public a willingness to engage and allows the development of a better relationship with the consumer. 

As with any posted content, it is important to be mindful of what platform conversations are occurring on and how that impacts the manner and viewing of conversations.  Make sure you know how notifications are utilized in each platform, who can see conversations, and how you can direct conversations off a public space.

This should be the number one rule and go without saying. It is important to stay positive when reacting to negative feedback no matter what is thrown at you.  Consumers can be mean, rude, or offensive to no end, but as a brand maintaining integrity is paramount.  No one wants to do business or be associated with a brand that is viewed as rude or disrespectful. 

Many complaints will be a one time occurrence, but it its helpful to know what has been said in the past, who has said it, and how it was handled. In the case that someone comes back multiple times or repeatedly posts inappropriate content, it is wise to have the history available for reference in determining the appropriate response. 


Direct consumer reach is both a benefit and a risk for brands on social media. There is no way to control what people will say or where they to choose to post. However, by developing a plan to handle the bad as well as the good and maintaining integrity and sincerity, brands can turn negative feedback into an opportunity to demonstrate their dedication to customers. 

Why I Skipped Work...

It wasn’t because I hate it here, I promise.


Over the long weekend of June 4th till the 7th, I was out of the office attending the 2015 NCAA Career in Sports Forum. Ten students from each Division I, II, and III institution were invited to apply, and through some stroke of luck I was one of 215 student-athletes chosen to attend.

About the Conference:

·      This four-day conference was held at the NCAA National Office in Indianapolis, Indiana. It was held to educate student athletes about the potential careers in sports, as well as to provide a forum to discuss networking, social media, and how to transition from being a student athlete to a professional in life after college athletics.

The Big Picture of College Athletics

·      During the forum we worked in small groups to learn about the different positions within college athletics and what each functional area entailed. For example we learned that the best athletic directors never sit behind their desks, and that administrators of smaller scale school have to cover more functional areas due to the size of the department.

Social Branding: Do’s and Do not’s

·      Antonio Neves spoke to the conference about creating your brand and keeping it polished. Key takeaways from his speech included:

1.    Control Google: You can decide what employers and clients can and cannot see about you when they Google-search your name. One idea is to create a personal website; it tells your story better than your resume

2.    Leverage social media for more than just an update on gossip: Create your brand through posting relevant articles, stay updated on current events, and post as if your grandma was reading

3.    Post what matters most to you, but stay out of the drama: 51% of employers have found content causing them not to hire a candidate. Stand up for what you believe in, but getting into social media fights does not look good on your character. Know the difference.

Featured Speakers

·      Dr. Mark Emmert, NCAA President: His best point was that 25% of D3, 50% of D2, and 75% of all DI collegiate male basketball players believe they are going to play professionally. In reality, only 2% actually will. We need to shift the perspective on professional sports and better prepare student athletes for work after college.

·      Ross Bjork, Athletics Director at University of Mississippi: His key point was that you should not take life too seriously. In work, in your personal life, and in sports, there are going to be situations where the lines of right and wrong are blurred and you can only go with your gut in times of decision-making. His suggestions were to have fun with it, put a positive spin on it and learn from it. For example, when Ole Miss fans decided to tear down a goal post, carry it out of the stadium and proceeded to chop it up into souvenir pieces, his only comment was “Save me and @CoachHughFreeze a piece...” and even offered to help cut it for students due to safety concerns. Pretty cool stuff. 

Personality test: Applicable to the Office

·      Prior to the conference, all attendees were required to take a test called a DiSC assessment. Essentially, this splits people up into 4 categories of Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, and Conscientiousness. As it is comprehensive in its descriptions of how each category mixes with others, how they are most efficient, and what communication styles reach them the best, DiSC is a great tool to improve any office culture and efficiency.


Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this conference. I learned not only how my athletic skills are transferrable into the workplace, but also how to brand myself in a professional way and accurately interact with coworkers. I would highly recommend this program to any other individual looking for either a potential career in sports or to further your career development. For a look into this years program or to gather more information, head to

Kaitlyn Krause is interning with BCN for the summer. She will return to Hofstra University in the fall to complete her MBA.

Meet the Team- Allan Dunlap

After interning with BCN last summer, I returned to Detroit to join the team as a Digital Coordinator. I moved to Michigan from the sunny beaches of Tampa Bay, FL where I grew up. I recently graduated from Clearwater Christian College in Clearwater, FL. While I was a student, I worked for several marketing companies providing digital marketing services for local restaurants, non-profit organizations, and other businesses throughout the Tampa Bay area.

            I am a dedicated sports enthusiast who was a member of my college’s basketball team. In addition to basketball, my favorite sports include baseball, football, hockey, and soccer. I am a passionate fan of the Orlando Magic. Besides organized sports, I also enjoy the outdoors, and kayaking and fishing are among my favorite activities. My most prized possessions include my sneaker collection, my Mac products, and my Netflix subscription. I also enjoy spending my weekends exploring the city. My favorite things about Detroit so far are the beautiful summers, watching Tigers games, and enjoying a Detroit coney.