Customer Service

4 Steps to Handling Negative Feedback on Social Media


If you’re a business owner or marketer responsible for handling social media accounts, then you’re more than likely to receive negative feedback at some point. It can be difficult to hear negative feedback at times but it’s important to consider this as an opportunity to turn a negative experience into a positive. Here are some tips on how to handle the negativity that may come your way via social media.

1. Remain calm

Even though it’s easy to respond quickly and negatively in response to a complaint, it’s nest to approach the situation calmly and professionally. Some people prefer to walk away from their computer or give themselves a designated period of time to process the situation and consider how it should be addressed. This prevents saying things that will tarnish your brand or make your company seem unprofessional. 

2.  Don’t take it personally

Many business owners take negative feedback personally simply because they have so much invested in their business. When addressing negative feedback, it’s important to remember that most customer complaints are genuine and can point to a significant problem within your company. Look at this opportunity to fine-tune certain aspects of your business operations or customer service.

3. Show compassion for the customer’s issue

Compassion goes a long way. Even if the customer is frustrated, they will be more responsive when interacting with someone who is compassionate and understanding.  If your response sounds unempathetic to the customer, there is a good chance the issue wont be resolved and it could be a catalyst for a PR disaster.

4. Learn from the feedback

Handling negative feedback can be a great learning experience. Important questions to ask yourself are: How can we improve? What can we do differently moving forward? From this point forward you can decide if a change is to a business process is required to prevent this from happening again or if you should adjust how that specific complaint is handled in the future.

Because complaints via social media are seen by the public. It is important to handle these complaints as quickly and professionally as possible But if you keep these 4 tips in mind while handling complaints, you may be able to gain new customers from the positive stories that come from them. 

What We Learned At Social Media Marketing World 2016

nature walk
nature walk

I had the pleasure of representing Social Ape at Social Media Marketing World in San Diego last week and I must say that it was an incredible experience. Not only did I meet new people who have the same passion for social media and marketing that I do, but I learned so much from the dozen sessions and panels that I attended. I was also able to see several of the folks speak who have paved the way for social media marketers and continue to inspire me on a daily basis.

I returned to Charlotte with 14 pages of notes and the opportunity to listen to ALL of the sessions at the conference via audio recordings. But for those of you who weren’t able to attend, we’ve put together a list of takeaways from the event and included the tools and strategies that your business should be investing in over the next year. I hope the list is helpful!



Strategy Tips:

  • Snapchat is the social media network to “un-brand” your brand. It is an opportunity to be real with your fans and followers. When people see brands having fun on Snapchat, they become more interested.
  • Use more colors and drawings when possible in snaps
  • Don’t let your followers consume ALL of the content. Keep your snaps as short as possible, giving them just enough time to view the content.
  • Create Snapchat stories that will last 24 hours. Create short snaps to “bump” your content back to the top of followers’ lists then after 24 hours, take a break to let the story disappear.
  • Give away freebies to make snap viewers feel important

Content Examples: 

  • Show your business behind-the-scenes using a combination of video, photos, drawings, interviews, etc.

Contest Examples:

  • Send a snap with a URL and ask your followers to take a screen shot of it, then visit that specific page later to enter a contest
  • Create a digital maze then ask your followers to find their way through the maze and send a screen shot back with the solution. The first person to send the correct solution back will win the contest. (Mind blown!)
  • Create a scavenger hunt by snapping photos of where the hidden prizes are located. The first person to find the prize will win!

Live Video (Periscope, Facebook Live)

Strategy Tips:

  • Reveal what your followers are missing by going behind the curtain using live video
  • Inform followers of critical situations that need live updates or give insight to live events
  • Create a blog post to summarize the questions asked during the live video and embed the video in the post
  • Share "snackable" content to share and promote live video
  • When working with Influencers, choose influencers who understand your niche, not the influencers who have the most followers

Content Examples:

  • Southwest Airlines answered questions on Periscope during a storm where there were lots of delays and cancellations. They confronted a difficult situation head-on to provide transparency for customers.
  • Southwest Airlines also live-streamed the unveiling of a new plane to give customers a sneak peek

Social Media Customer Service

Strategy Tips:

  • Embrace complaints! Answer them every time and in every channel.
  • Only reply twice to complaints. Do not let the user publicly shame you. First, apologize publicly (for the “spectators”) and ask the user to send you their contact information. Take the conversation offline. If the user refuses even after this attempt, walk away. It will only make the situation worse if you continue to engage.
  • Treat online and offline customers the same. You wouldn’t ignore someone calling your business to complain, so why would you ignore someone complaining via social media?
  • Do not ignore review sites, including Yelp

Facebook Ads for Online Businesses

Strategy Tips:

  • Make list-building a priority. Which “bucket” will each person end up? Create Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced buckets and place appropriate users in those buckets based on their behavior.
  • Create an awesome piece of content that will draw people in and make them click through. It is MUCH cheaper to do this than asking users to buy right away. Once you do this, you can create other actions. Selling to warm leads is more successful than selling to cold leads.
  • When using images in Facebook Ads, photos of the person selling the product work better with people who already know that person. For people who are not familiar with this person, clean graphic images work the best.
  • Use pixels (conversion codes) to create a funnel. If people have already opted in on your website, create a different path for them compared to someone who have not opted in.

Questions to Ask:

  • What is my trigger for these people? What can I give to them that will provide value?
  • What is the end goal? How do I get there?


Strategy Tips:

  • Edit your LinkedIn profile to people you want to attract today and even tomorrow. By adding more keywords that suit your needs now, you’ll be able to attract those type of people.
  • Create your profile to solve problems for the people looking for you on LinkedIn. What problem do you solve? How can you help future clients or employers?
  • Include personal tidbits in your profile to appear more personable.
  • Give endorsements to 10+ people per day to encourage them to do the same. Genuinely give recommendations to your peers and ask for them in return.
  • Tip: Turn off profile updates when you edit your profile! You don’t want to “spam” your connections when you overhaul your profile.
  • According to LinkedIn, one update on LinkedIn per day will result in reaching 60% of your connections. Post interesting ideas and insights at least once a day.

Want to receive information like this in your inbox every week? Sign up for the Social Ape Weekly, a weekly newsletter chock full of social media tips, best practices and productivity tools to help you become a better marketer!

How to Handle Customer Service Issues via Social Media

How do you respond to customers that complain via social media? No matter the type of business or product that you sell, at some point you are likely to experience an unhappy customer. Today customers are not shy to express their concerns or negative experiences via social media sites. When handled correctly, customer service issues via social media can actually benefit your business and set you apart from your competition.

What is the best way to handle complaints and unhappy customers on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter? Below is an example of an issue that a customer of The Roasting Company, a Social Ape client, had earlier this year.

A loyal customer of The Roasting Company placed a to-go order and asked for an extra side of queso with her meal. Upon returning to her house later that night, she noticed that she did not have her extra queso and was quite upset. The customer sent a public tweet mentioning The Roasting Company along with an image of her meal.

Screen Shot 2014-07-08 at 2.34.17 PM
Screen Shot 2014-07-08 at 2.34.17 PM

So how should you respond to a situation like this?

1. Take if offline. The first and the most important step is to take the conversation offline. Publicly respond to the customer asking them to privately message you their email or phone number so that you can get in touch with them directly. This way you won’t have their complaints and your responses online for all of your followers and fans to read. In this situation, we sent a tweet to the customer asking her to privately message us with her contact information.

2. Remain professional.  NEVER argue over the internet. Not only does it look extremely bad for your business, but it is also very unprofessional. There is a saying the customer is always right, and most of the time this is true.

3. Respond in a timely manner. Respond to any complaint or concern as soon as you can. Responding to a complaint within 2 hours after the customers comment has been posted is an ideal time to ensure you will get a response, and hopefully a positive one. Not only will the customer be impressed that you responded, but they will most likely thank you for wanting to address the situation so quickly. In this situation, we responded to the tweet in 17 minutes to ensure the customer that we took the complaint seriously.

4. How to fix the situation: Go above and beyond to make sure the customer is happy. This could mean refunding their purchase or giving them a gift card to show that you value them as a customer and want to ensure that they are satisfied. Ask yourself “If I were in this situation, how would I want the issue resolved?”  In this situation, we offered a gift card to the customer, who was then elated by the gesture and returned to the restaurant for dinner with friends the following week.

5. Follow Up: Always remember to follow up with the customer to make sure that the situation was resolved. Sending a follow-up email or making a quick phone call to ensure that the customer is happy will improve your chances that the customer will return despite the error.

Complaints via social media can either make or break your online presence. By handling these issues in a timely and professional manner, you'll have better chances of keeping your current customers happy and winning over new ones as well!

Want to receive information like this in your inbox every week? Sign up for the Social Ape Weekly, a weekly newsletter chock full of social media tips, best practices and productivity tools to help you become a better marketer!