I find that one of the most common questions that comes up with folks still wary to get their brand on Facebook is, "But what if someone writes something negative?!" I've been working on a polite way of telling them it's actually not the end of the world.
Basically it comes down to something my mum told me many years ago: "Not everyone is going to like you. Sorry!"
However, how you handle negative comments on Facebook DOES matter.
Delete or hide a comment. This just looks silly. Chances are a few people will see a negative comment before you get to remove or hide it anyway. This shows, to several people, that you are just straight up trying to cover up the situation.
Furthermore, the person who wrote the comment will know that their comment has been removed and that will either, one, infuriate them causing them to post more negative things or lash out in another way, two, cause the person to totally lose interest in your brand and/or, three, both.
THAT BEING SAID- Use your best judgement. If a comment is inappropriate, offensive, a spammy marketing message or some other thing that can be classified as poor taste, feel free to hide or remove it and, if necessary, report or block the commenter.
Ignore comments. If someone has something to say about your brand, positive or negative, don't just ignore it. This person cared enough to come to your Facebook page and leave their thoughts. Whether or not you think it's significant doesn't matter. It's significant to them. And seeing as they are your customer and/or brand ambassador, it would be wise to make sure they feel it's significant to you as well.
Respond to comments. You don't have to respond to ALL of the negative comments you receive. A good rule of thumb is to respond to an equal amount of negative and positive comments. This creates a well balanced social engagement strategy. It represents real engagement. It shows that while you are concerned about negative comments on Facebook and want to right any wrong situations, you are also grateful for the positive comments and endorsements you receive.
Allow for comments in the first place. There are options where you can disable commenting or make it so that you have to approve comments before they appear publicly.
Don't allow some comments and not others. Instead ENCOURAGE comments. Remember why they call it social media: because it's social. Facebook is not a platform like other marketing and advertising channels for you to just shout your message at someone. It's not supposed to be a one-way street anymore.
Be genuine. Don't be overly apologetic to the point where you are clearly groveling. This was/is never attractive. A surefire giveaway of groveling looks a little like this: "We are sooooo sorry!!!!!" Always avoid excessive "o's" and exclamation points.
If someone has something negative to say, take responsibility. If you have made a mistake then apologize! Even if you haven't made a mistake, there are still ways to apologize. ALWAYS take the high road. At the end of the day if that person can't accept your apology at least others will see that you cared enough to make the effort to apologize in the first place.
See, not so scary! No need to freak out about negative comments on Facebook. Negativity exists. Stay positive, be true and that will show.