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Address your response personally to the unhappy person.


Acknowledge mistakes with a sincere apology and helpful solution.


Resolve the issue in offline communications.

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Wednesday, July 26th, 2017

When Social Media Criticism Occurs,
Use the Opportunity to Build Your Brand.

Social media has proven to be a terrific forum for companies to build relationships with customers. However, there's an offsetting risk. No company is immune to finding itself the occasional target of critical social media comments. When that happens, how your company reacts can carry very negative repercussions, or bring highly positive results. Here's how to resolve a delicate situation to your company's own benefit.

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Shrewd companies know prompt, proactive, polite and professional response is the best way to deal with unfavorable remarks. Assign a single company employee or team to handle negative postings. That person or team should politely apologize when miscues occur and provide a courteous response.

We show how to react to unfavorable social media comments, because the timing and tenor of the response can win or lose you customers.

The only thing worse than ignoring negative comments on social media sites is deleting them without a response. Doing so will likely leave the critic even more enraged.

Read "Five Brilliant Ways to Respond to Criticism on Social Media" by Jayson DeMers in Forbes' December 21, 2016 issue.

Create a plan to deal with adverse feedback before it ever occurs. This strategy worked when a famous director complained of an airline's treatment of him.

Email or call us at 708-246-4211to learn how to transform social media barbs into positives for your company's brand image.


When tackling dissonant social media remarks, authenticity is critical. Blame shifting is strongly discouraged. The more sincere and personalized the response your company offers, the more social media users will be convinced you plan to solve the problem promptly and to their satisfaction. Once your response has gone public on social media, take the resolution of the situation offline. The one-on-one exchange should leave your customer satisfied and potentially praising your response.

The guidelines above outline important elements of a company's response to unfavorable customer comments on social media. Your company can tweak the strategy it uses by incorporating additional techniques, such as these.

  • Turn a critic into a potential brand ambassador by being empathetic to her situation. The customer wants to know that you care and want to help. When you create a satisfactory solution to meet her concerns, she will probably continue doing business with you, and may end up singing your praises.
  • Defuse attacks with creative responses. When Ann Taylor heard from customers irate a promoted outfit would not look good on "real women," the retailer posted photos of its own female staff looking stunning in the very same outfits.
  • Remember honesty and transparency are best practices when dealing with social media criticism. In this era of instant sharing, any attempt to obscure the truth can almost immediately create a firestorm, and singe your brand image.