The Blog

Social Media Spats: Tips to Handle Online Altercations

When a problem comes across your brand’s social media, how do you address it? Social media customer care is a hot topic. Your instinct tells you to defend your brand when people bash it, but what is the best practice? You don’t want to offend your followers or concerned consumers, but you do want to protect the integrity of your business.

We always say that social media is a conversation, but that conversation isn’t always going to go your way. You’re going to get negative feedback or criticism from people because the reality is that you can’t make everyone happy. Ignoring these criticisms or simply deleting the comments might be tempting, but don’t do it! Responding to comments is what makes social media “social.” Sometimes, you can even turn your biggest critic into your biggest fan.

So how do you deal with negative feedback? Here are five quick tips to guide you through a social media train wreck.


  • Stay positive! Even when your critic is being negative, spin it into a positive situation. Make sure to respond to the problem in a timely manner and let your solution to the problem be known. Simply apologizing isn’t going to satisfy your critic, but offering a solution and a way to make things right will please even the most sour critics.
  • Listen to constructive criticism. Whether you’re running an event that didn’t flow correctly or your product has a flaw, take constructive criticism for what it is and learn from the experience. Think of social media as a huge, free, real-time focus group and listen to your audience. Thank them for their input and tell them you’re putting it into consideration. Maybe it’s an idea you’ve never thought of and it would improve your product!
  • Sometimes people are simply looking for a fight. Don’t let it get personal and don’t give in to the temptation to fight back. There is no way to win in this situation so the best solution is to simply move on. Focus on problems that you can solve, not the impossible.
  • Be human, not a robot. One thing people hate are corporate responses. Show that you are a human and you have feelings, that you can relate to the person’s frustration. If you feel comfortable, give your name or an email for the upset customer to contact you. This way, there is a name and almost a face to the problem instead of someone simply yelling at a faceless brand.
  • Make it right. Offering an apology is a good start, but you can’t turn around a critic without action. Everyone makes mistakes, but how we fix those mistakes is what consumers will remember.