Dealing with Negative Feedback on Social Media

Recently, at a meeting with a client, he asked me how to deal with negative feedback on social media.

His question arose from his small business networking group where apparently this has become a recurring problem for its members especially for those not on social media and who don’t want to be on social media.

I’ll give some general recommendations in this article and leave recommendations on specific social media channels for future articles because while the general principles are the same, dealing with negative feedback can vary by tool.

The first thing you as social media business person has to realize is that like it or not, you’re going to be on social media!

Your customers, current and future, are there.  

Your competition is there.

Comments, both positive and negative, about your business will happen.

Unfortunately, call it human nature, your dissatisfied customers are more likely to comment about you than your satisfied ones.

Even when the latter vastly outnumber the former!

What can be done about this?

Fortunately, this situation can be managed.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again:

You should be on social media before the bad news arrives!

Develop your social media footprint because it’s always best to respond to a difficult situation from a position of strength as opposed to no position at all.

Having a social media program in place allows you to be proactive as opposed to reactive when problems arise.

You shouldn’t allow the first things to be said about you on social media to be negative.

Here’s a few pointers on how to deal with negative feedback to get you started:

  1. Always encourage your customers to leave feedback, especially the positive variety, on your various social media; facilitate this by having links to it on all your digital and hard copy marketing materials.
  2. Respond professionally to all criticisms.
  3. Don’t overreact or allow yourself to be provoked.
  4. Try to resolve the situation to a mutually acceptable solution.
  5. Admit mistakes!
  6. Be sincere.
  7. Let others see that you’re trying to resolve the situation to everyone’s mutual satisfaction.
  8. Ensure that others see you as the reasonable one even if the other party isn’t.
  9. Do this publicly even if the tools allow for private resolution, let people see that you’re doing you’re best.  You want others to see a successful resolution.
  10. Try to have the other party come back and say they’re satisfied.  (Not always possible, but it sure looks good when it is!)
  11. Don’t be too big to apologize and be genuine about it!

Here’re a few “Don’ts”:

  1. Don’t be a jerk!  (I think we all know what I mean by this!)
  2. Don’t do anything “creative” like this inn in Upstate New York that decided to charge it’s guests for negative Yelp reviews.  I’m sure they didn’t expect all the negative, global publicity.
  3. Whatever you do, don’t ignore the negative feedback!

Social media can’t be ignored.  It’s here to stay.

Understand the social media channels that your customers use and how to deal with their negative feedback.  Do this before the feedback arrives!

Hope this helps!

I’ll blog about specific social media channels in the future and how to deal with negative feedback using their features.

That’s it for now!

In the meantime, thank you for following and reading my blog!

I look forward to any and all comments that you may have.  I will reply to any comments made to this blog post as promptly as I can.


I do this for a living and if I can be of any assistance to either you or your organization, please feel free to call on me.  Our initial discussion will be of no charge to you.

I can also be reached at

My Twitter handle is @conpsweeney.

Stay well!

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