Handling Social Media Business Criticism – And Coming Out Looking Better!

By   /  
June 16, 2016
Photo via PDP

Social media has made the world of business easier in so many ways. You have direct access to your consumers. If they like or follow you, then you can promote directly to them without the fees an ad agency would charge. You can ask for feedback, act on it and deliver improvements to the people you depend on for your business success.

With all of these benefits, it is inevitable there are some downfalls. Bad social media management is just not something that any modern company can afford. Do it right, and you get praise and ultimately revenue as a reward. Do it badly; it could cost you everything.

If a customer has not used a service or retailer before, chances are they will check their Facebook page to get an idea of the company. It can be truly disheartening if a disgruntled customer posts on your page with a negative review. It’s not exactly what you want potential new customers to be seeing. It’s probably not reflective of your brand either; you don’t deserve to be judged by one of your less impressive offerings.

It’s easy to think that ignoring the bad reviews is the right thing to do. It’s water off a duck’s back, right? You can’t please everyone. Your potential customers will understand that, you reassure yourself. It’s even tempting just to delete it off the page. It’s your business space online, not where some malcontent can air their grievances. You wish they had brought the matter up privately.

However, handling this moment incorrectly could do eternal damage to your brand reputation and PR. It’s important to make this a priority of your digital marketing agency.

Customers can accept that things go wrong. No one except the most unreasonable of customers is going to think that a business needs to be perfect every time.

What does matter is how you, the company, handle it.

Photo by R Nial Bradshaw

Photo by R Nial Bradshaw

You must respond

Ignoring criticism is a death-knell for proper social media management. Your customer has taken the time to engage. Both for the existing customer and any potential new ones, you have to address their concern.

Be polite

If you’re reading a rant complete with pictures and excessive punctuation, rise above it. Be as courteous as you can be. If the surname of the customer is visible, use that rather than the too-familiar first name. Use Sir or Madam if you’re unsure.

Photo from Apple Support

Photo from Apple Support

Use words only

You might be tempted to use emoji. Don’t. It makes you look childish, and could be perceived as not taking the complaint seriously.

Photo via PixaBay

Photo via PixaBay


Even if you don’t feel that you’re at fault, apologize for their disappointment. Empathize with how disappointing it must be- even if you’re secretly thinking they’re overreacting.

Photo via Prince2

Photo via Prince2

Take agency of the issue

Give them your name, as the person responding. Tell them you are going to take command of it and investigate. Give your direct line or email address.

Photo from YouTube

Remove the issue from social media

Ask them to call or email for further assistance while you look into the problem. This removes any additional complaints from the public eye.

Handling a complaint well will ultimately benefit your business. Remain professional at all times, and trust any potential customers will see that you have done your best.

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