On Small Business is introducing a new feature in which young entrepreneurs will answer common questions about small business owners’ social media needs. The following answers are provided by the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only nonprofit organization comprised of young entrepreneurs. The YEC promotes entrepreneurship as a solution to unemployment and underemployment and provides entrepreneurs with access to tools, mentorship and resources that support each stage of their business’s development and growth.

How do you respond to negative feedback that comes through over social media?

Patrick Curtis, founder of WallStreetOasis in Boston:

“We address it head on. If someone is speaking negatively about our company, we like to take a proactive role to ensure that there is no misunderstanding about what our intentions are as a business and community. Putting your head in the sand is typically not a good approach in the age of social media. If you have nothing to hide and are proud of your products and services, why not use the open forum to take constructive criticism and defend your business or clear up any misunderstandings?”

Jennifer Kushell, founder and chief evangelist of YSN.com in Los Angeles: “Address it head on! Often people lash out more harshly when they feel anonymous or that they’ll never be responded to. When you do respond, and show genuine interest in their response, they often recoil quickly and even apologize for being so raw. If there are legitimate points being made, acknowledge them. I also think you can stop the momentum of others jumping on board, riot style, in extreme cases: Turn the rant into a dialogue where you can make your points heard.  Try to address the concerns first, but if the negativity just continues as raw bashing, walk away or consider blocking them if you have the ability.”

John Hall, CEO of DigitalTalent Agents in Columbia, Mo.:

“If it is ridiculous, I don’t even answer. I don’t want to attract any attention to those comments. If they are constructive in any way, I always respond. This is a great chance to support your position and gain respect by communicating it respectfully. You never want to leave negative feedback out there that makes a good point.”