By Lisa Hester, Senior Account Manager

Are you thin-skinned or resilient? Or, a better question, is your company thin-skinned or resilient? The truth is, if your company has a Facebook and/or Twitter page, you will inevitably get posts containing negative comments, poor reviews and scathing remarks about your company and/or its representatives from customers, potential customers, loyalists to the competitor and the general public. No matter how superb you believe your company is or how perfect you believe its goods and/or services are, these posts are inevitable. So prepare to toughen up and put a plan in place to deal with the comments.

Unplanned activities on social media can kill your business.

Handling Negative Comments on Social

* Never delete negative comments. No matter how tempting that may seem, it will not make the post originator vanish along with his post. In fact, you likely could expect greater fury in posts from the poster and others who jump on the bandwagon simply because you deleted it. One caveat here, if the negative post contains foul or inappropriate language, you may choose to delete it for that reason.

As a recent AdWeek article pointed out, “Every time there’s an angry customer, you’re not just dealing with him or her. You’re dealing with the thousands of other people connected to your social platform who are watching you on dealing with this angry customer.

* Stay cool. Just as you know not to shoot off an email to someone immediately when you’re angry, always stop to think through what you’ve read, then prepare to sideline your emotions before you act.

* Decide IF you should respond. Sounds easier than it may be to determine. But if the post is generic or a random attempt to bait you or your company, let it go. Look for the genuineness of the post and what’s behind it.

“If it’s a one-off, ask yourself if responding publicly will achieve a positive result, said CEO Alisha Navarro of 2 Hounds Designs. “Will the customer be any happier than before they posted? Will it make you look defensive? Will it accomplish anything?”

* If you choose to respond, do so promptly. What’s “promptly?” When dealing with negative comments, 42 percent of consumers expect you to reply within one hour and more than two-third of your consumers expect a reply on the same day, AdWeek says.

* Sincerity works. Be compassionate in your reply. Show you’re interested, listening and care. Apologize if appropriate. Fix the issue when possible and explain, as much as is practical, how you’re going to fix the issue.

* Next steps. Be cognizant of mounting complaints. If you begin to notice similar complaints about a particular issue, it’s likely time to investigate if there is an underlying problem. If one is found, invest the time to correct the problem.