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How to Answer Negative Comments on Instagram

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Learning how to answer negative comments on Instagram is crucial if you want to drive sales through social media. In fact, how you handle less than flattering comments can have a significant impact on your revenue.

This is not surprising since comments on Instagram are the equivalent of customer reviews. And, it’s no secret that what others say about your business can influence purchase decisions. More precisely, 9 out of 10 users look for other customers’ opinions and value their input.

However, no matter how hard you try to keep your customers happy, negative comments might pop up when you least expect them. While the situation might entail a minor drawback, you can turn the tables around, control the damage, and regain face. 

In this post, you’ll learn how to answer negative comments on Instagram in a graceful and redemptive manner. After all, it’s only human to make mistakes (even as a business). What will define you is how you decide to handle these mishaps. 

Uhm… should I even answer negative comments on Instagram?

Uhm.. yes. Definitely. Always.

While you might be tempted to ignore negative comments, believing these will go away is just wishful thinking. Nobody is keen on having hard conversations, but addressing customer concerns or negative comments is a must, no matter how unfair these might feel to you.

Especially since posts that contain negative comments seem to have more leverage with Instagram’s algorithm. According to a study conducted by AdWeek, negative information is more likely to be interacted with than positive information. That means Instagram will favour and maximize the spread of posts that contain negative comments. Seems like the old adage “bad news travels fast” is also valid on social media.

Always answer negative comments on Instagram

To avoid having your reputation soaked in negativity, you must quickly jump to addressing any customer concern by providing a thoughtful answer. You should always directly reply to any negative comment and find the right words to state your answer. The last thing you want is to come across as arrogant or insensitive to customer needs. 

Read on to learn the exact steps you should be taking.

How to handle negative comments on social media

Keep an eye on brand mentions

The easiest way to stay up to date with what followers say about your business is by turning on the comments and tag notification setting. To do this, go to your Instagram profile and access the Settings section. Here, look for “Posts, Stories and Comments” and make sure every option is turned on.

Not all negative comments related to your business will be posted on your profile. And not all users who complain will tag your brand directly. That’s why practicing social listening can prove a business-saving skill. 

Social listening is the practice of monitoring certain topics, hashtags, keywords, or news. By following specific categories and actively searching for connected information you can stay on top of how your business is portrayed across Instagram (and social media in general).

Be prompt to address complaints

The sooner you answer, the better. Users associate prompt responses with genuine interests from brands, and you definitely want to earn their good graces. On average, you should try to address negative comments within 15 minutes from the moment they were posted. However, if you’re unable to be so quick, a one-hour frame is acceptable.

Some reports show that only half of customers expect the same swift response time during evenings or weekends. However, it all depends on the gravity of the situation. If a comment is time-sensitive or can do too much damage if left for later, answering it might be in your best interest.

If you’re going through a communication crisis and expect multiple negative comments at all times during the day and night, consider paying someone an extra fee for being “on-call”.

React calmly and politely

Some negative comments might be ill-intentioned and purely false. When faced with such unfair reviews, your first instinct might be to expose the troll by being less than pleasant. While your frustration is understandable, keep it to yourself. Vent out in your private space, and then write a polite and calm answer. 

Answer negative comments on Instagram calmly

Responding sarcastically or condescendingly won’t solve anything. On the contrary, given Instagram’s shareability, your answer might go viral, and your reputation might spiral downward. Having a short fuse isn’t something you’d want people to associate you (or your business) with, so remember to pause, think, and only then answer. 

All answers should contain either a detailed argumentation of why things happened a certain way or an apology if necessary. Not all negative comments will require an “I am sorry”, but all will require your full attention.

Answer negative comments on Instagram baring gifts

The content of negative comments on Instagram matters, but how you answer matters more. Studies show that 70% of customers are inclined to change their perception of businesses based on how brands respond to online reviews and complaints.

To maintain a positive image despite negative comments on Instagram, consider offering dissatisfied customers a discount or a thoughtful gift. While keeping everybody satisfied all the time is utopic, mending your wrongs is a sane strategy. And gifts (alongside heartfelt apologies) always help.

Customize your answers

No matter how crazy-busy your schedule is, don’t answer negative comments on Instagram with standard, cookie-cutter answers. Being too formal or too impersonal will come across as insincere and will only add fuel to the fire.

To get to the core of an issue, you must take the time to personalize your answers. If the situation requires, don’t hesitate to open a broader conversation via DM. Alternatively, you can encourage dissatisfied customers to offer more details through email. 

Never delete negative comments (and an exception to this rule)

By now, you’ve probably figured out our policy: never, ever delete negative comments. Even if the comment in case is false, deleting it without addressing it first will incriminate you. Moreover, 62% of customers say they would not buy from brands that delete user reviews or comments. 

Only after you’ve addressed and solved a comment or review you can discuss it with the user and get permission to delete it. Make sure that before you do, you answer and resolve the complaint publicly. Taking a screenshot is also a good idea — just in case.

As for trolls, you can always use the spam/report options to deter them from spreading ill-intentioned and fake information. 

Do you feel ready?

We hope you won’t have to use these skills too often, but it’s always better to be prepared. Remember not to take comments too personally and focus on how you can improve. 

If you’re the person we think you are, then you’re constantly pushing to make your business better and keep your customers satisfied. We salute that, and we’re right here for you. With Preppr as your sidekick for Instagram, you’ll always be able to see the bright side of things. 

Ilona Iftode is a copywriter with a taste for adventure. She lives to write, travel and explore new concepts in the realms of advertising, marketing, SEO and beyond.

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