Managing Community Feedback: How to Keep Calm and Stay On Brand

Today, brands are much more than the products or services that they sell. They are also the community they build based around the values that the brand represents. Whether you sell jewelry or offer photography services, you are building a community as a part of your brand. These are the people who support you, like what you produce, share similar values and goals as those that your brand represents, or those who just interact with you once or twice.

But no community is perfect. And while you can’t control people, you are going to need to understand how to manage the community that your brand creates. It’s important to figure out how you specifically want to handle communicating with your community in a way that matches what you and your brand stand for. 

Let’s get into what it means to manage your community in a way that pays off and stays on brand. Plus, we’ve even added some tips on how to handle negative or predatory communications.

What is “online community management”?

As modern businesses increasingly use social media platforms along with their websites to grow their audience and increase sales, community management, specifically online community management, has become highly important. The community that you build can span the entire  internet, sometimes stretching into multiple countries.

In a blog post written by Braveen Kumar for Shopify, the writer explains, “Community management is the fostering and management of brand loyalists and patrons of your business at any number of social websites or apps.” In layman’s terms, you’re managing your interactions and feedback with your new, ongoing and even longterm clientele.  

Some examples of community management include: 

  • Replying to comments on your Facebook posts, answering questions people ask in your Direct Messages on Instagram, and directly addressing reviews people leave on your products 
  • And, yes, managing an out-of-control Comments section or dealing with an angry customer counts, too.

Monitoring and managing community feedback and communication can seem like a lot of effort but it’s important and it will benefit your business. This isn’t just another task to handle during your daily work,  it is also a highly useful resource to take stock of.

Why you actually want to encourage community interactions

Managing your online community can sound like a burden to some, but we want to make sure you don’t feel overwhelmed. Yes, the more your business grows, the more interaction there will be and, by default, more responsibilities (this is why so many people get help with their social media strategy). 

All that said, having a community TO manage means that you are going to get a good deal of feedback, which should ultimately benefit you in the long run. 

Those interactions, comments and reviews are all ways of getting direct feedback from your audience on your products, services, performances, etc. This can help you figure out how to improve or adapt your products or services, gives you a chance to directly handle customer problems, and offers an added way for your brand to engage your audience in a nearly one-on-one manner.

Tips to get more interaction from your online community

If you haven’t started to engage and communicate with your online community on the reg, today is the day to start. Here are some helpful pointers to get the conversation with your customers or followers going:

  • Encourage people to DM or email you their questions.
  • Follow up social media posts by encouraging commentary, sharing or other activities.
  • Create and provide links to surveys to gather real-time information.
  • Encourage people to post about your products or services (Pst. This is also User-Generated Content and GREAT for social media growth).
  • Encourage people to leave reviews and then make sure that you respond to them.

Why it’s important to stay “on-brand” when managing responses from your community

Staying on-brand when interacting with your community is highly important. But why? 

Well think of it this way. If your friend behaved one way at lunch and a completely different way five minutes later, it would seem strange, right? If you communicate with customers or clients without sticking to your brand’s voice, it can appear disingenuous and actually undermine their desire to interact with you. 

With everyone on the same page with knowing how to respond, it makes things easier and encourages a more trusting relationship with your community members. This is important since 71% of customers who’ve had a positive experience with a brand on social media are likely to recommend them to friends and family. That means that better community engagement can translate to better growth and sales.

We strongly suggest sitting down and creating a standard operating procedure, or SOP, guide for everyone on your team to reference that will help each team member stay on-brand when interacting with community members, such as what we’ve detailed in our e-book “How to Manage Your Social Media Community.

Points to help you start building a community feedback “guide”

An easy-to-reference guide for handling community feedback reduces the risk of any one member of your team from sounding like they are from an entirely different business. Your online community management guide should match your business’ unique voice and standards. When making this guide, it is good to remember these important details:

  • Make sure the responses are timely, genuine and personalized. You don’t want to wait too long to respond to comments or messages that require a real answer. Try to address these within about 12 hours if possible, making sure to get to them within a business day at the latest. 
  • Keep responses on-brand: When you do respond to those community members, make sure that your responses are within your brand’s voice and are individualized to each person as best as they can be. Responses should never be copy-paste unless it is meant to navigate someone to a better forum for communication such as switching from comments to messages. 
  • Create a regular habit out of checking your social pages to avoid missed communications. Figure out how many times a day your team should check comments and messages and which platforms they should monitor. This helps prevent comments and feedback from going unanswered. This ends up being a big deal, as more people, around 54% actually, prefer their customer service to come through social media, rather than via phone calls or emails.
  • Figure out what actually requires a response. You want to be consistent when it comes to keeping up with comments, but selective in your engagement; not everything warrants a response. Make sure to answer questions, respond to feedback on products or services, etc., but figure out what can be skipped (i.e., A laughing emoji response to a clever story post).

3 example responses for online community management

It is likely going to be helpful to provide a variety of examples for your team members to work off of as well. Our e-book details a larger range of responses that you can use to get you started on your own list. Here are a few examples:

InquiryPossible Response
A customer reaches out to complain about the quality of your product and would like their money back.Hi [NAME]. Thank you for reaching out to us.Please submit the details of your request to the CONTACT PAGE ON YOUR WEBSITE so we can look into this further.
A customer wants to inquire about whether the company uses biodegradable/sustainable packaging.Hi, [NAME]. At [YOUR BRAND NAME], we are deeply committed to improving the health and safety of our planet, including its communities, waterways and animal habitats through responsible ingredient sourcing and sustainable product packaging wherever and whenever possible.
Another brand reaches out to inquire about collaborating or partnering on a product or service together.Hi [NAME]. Thank you for reaching out about this. We’re so excited you are interested in working with our brand. Please submit your inquiry via our Contact Page and we’ll be intouch: LINK TO CONTACT PAGE ON WEBSITE
Sample questions and responses in our new e-book “How to Manage Your Social Media Community”

Tips for managing negative/toxic feedback

It doesn’t matter what platform you are on or how hard you try, you can’t please everyone. Someone may take offense to a silly post on Instagram while another may leave a bad review for something you worked so diligently on. 

It is frustrating. It can even be discouraging. But you are strong and sturdy enough to press on. “The show must go on,” right? 

“Negative feedback is good for you,”says Kasia Perzynska or Survicate. “It helps your company improve and grow better than the competition.”

What’s more, the way that you handle that negative feedback can even help your brand. Especially if negative commentary is visible to a larger audience (i.e., in the comments section) it can be used as an opportunity to show how much your brand cares about real customer service. 

When it comes to managing negative customer feedback, try to remember these best practices:

  • Use the person’s name in your response
  • Apologize and sympathize
  • Communicate about a solution that is in process

Remember though, you can’t win every situation. Some people will continue to be angry and obstinate no matter what you say or offer. In cases of extreme negativity, we recommend ceasing responses to the individual, documenting everything that has been said by both parties, and, if needed, deleting the commentary and blocking the user. This is usually the best approach to handling online “trolls” as well.

Figuring out how to define your brand’s voice and your team approach to community management takes a lot of time and resources. That work will pay off in the end but in the interim, we can help you determine what needs to be figured out so you have a real grasp on how your team manages your online community.

You can find an even more detailed guide by downloading our e-book here: How To Manage Your Social Media Community. Contact us by emailing or reaching out to us through our Contact page.

Written by Brianna Fries, a California-based writer, editor, bookworm, and mother of two. You can reach out to her at or discover more of her work at

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