While not everyone will take social media or online reviews of your business to heart, there are plenty of people online that take social media comments seriously. Of course, when they are positive, you’re more than happy to respond and thank them for their kind words. But what about when the comment is decidedly negative, and you’re not sure what to do?

The most important thing about handling negative comments on social media is to respond quickly and positively. It’s also important to be very responsive to any additional comments from that person. The more quickly and politely you respond to negativity, the better you will look to both strangers and fans. The less vitriol people see coming across your page, the better. Also, if you’re being positive the entire time, it can make the person being negative look bad.

One of the best ways to handle negative comments if the whole thing isn’t ending amicably is to invite them to discuss the matter privately. Sometimes the negative comment arises from a misunderstanding that can be easily resolved. Other times the negative commentary may actually present an actual problem that needs to be fixed. Of course, sometimes there are the inevitable “trolls” that present themselves. They need to be handled politely in public, but be reported as such. Also, negative comments don’t even have to be directly on your business pages. This is why it’s important to track brand mentions, as well, which can be as simple as searching your company name on a regular basis.

Be sure that you always have someone monitoring your social media profiles. While you can do this yourself, it’s often good to have someone making sure that all of the easily found profiles of your business online are properly claimed and completed. Studies indicate that over three-quarters of consumers will research your business on social media before deciding to contact you. So it’s very important that not only are you active on social media, but that you’re ready to deal with the potential negative commentary that your activity may allow. With social media growing every day, you have to be prepared to keep up with it.

Of course, you hope that your online presence is positive enough to only attract good comments and potential leads. But every so often, there will be someone disgruntled enough to blast you on social media, sometimes quite undeservedly. It’s so easy to leave a comment on social media, and a single bad comment can drive away a good deal of potential business if not attended to quickly. While it’s possible to hide some comments if they are truly just spam, or block users if they become very troublesome, it’s not always possible on some review site platforms. Just be sure to always respond quickly, positively, and decisively to any negative comments about you, no matter where they are. The people you truly want as your customers or clients will appreciate your effort.