7-Step Action Plan to Deal with Negative Publicity on Social Media

For small business owners dealing with social media is equivalent to a relationship with a spouse or girlfriend. You cannot live without it nor can you (sometimes) live with it! Just like the other relationship, you still have to deal with the situation, whether you like it or not. Even if you do not want actively use social media for business marketing, you have to stay engaged to make sure your business image is not being tarnished, which can hurt your business.
You can overcome your social media fears with the 3-step approach we described earlier. We also showed best practices you can use to get the most out of social media. In this post we will show how you can deal with negative comments customers may post about your business on social media.

The negative publicity in social media could come as a result of several reasons. May be the customer had a bad experience and wants to vent it out in public. Or they don’t like your product as much as your competitors’ and want the whole world to know. It could also be that they have suggestions to improve your product or business, but say it in negative fashion. No matter what form the negative publicity takes you can follow this methodical approach to neutralize it and even turn it on its face to make the situation a positive for your business.

  1. Assess – The first step in dealing with negative publicity is to monitor and find out what is being said in the first place. We showed in the earlier post how you can assess the situation in order to prepare yourself to properly respond.
  2. Accept – Before you respond to the negative comments in any way accept the complaint as it is and acknowledge to the customer. You don’t have to accept that it was your mistake. Just the act of acknowledging the customer will calm him down to some extent, which is what you want.
  3. Ask – It is also important to get all the facts around the situation before taking any action. The more information you have the better prepared you will be to respond. This also assures other customers that you take their feedback seriously and are willing to do whatever it takes to satisfy them.
  4. Apologize – “I am sorry” – these are powerful words that can pacify any angry customer. As mentioned earlier, you are not acknowledging that it was your mistake with these words. You are merely sympathizing with customer’s situation. If it is truly your mistake you do want to accept the responsibility and promise to make it better.
  5. Act – After you have the facts around the situation and have apologized to the customer you want to take appropriate action depending on the situation. It could be in the form of product return, a refund or a coupon for the next purchase. Before you do anything, however, ask the customer what would make him happy and do it. This is not the time to be penny wise and pound foolish.
  6. Affirm – Sometimes it may be necessary to bring customer’s attention to your business policies. He may not be aware of them and may have expected something different from what your business offers. But affirming to the customer will let everyone know that it was not your mistake.
  7. Abandon – After these 6 steps most customer will be pacified, even thanking you for taking care of the situation so promptly and graciously. Some customers, however, will simply not go away. Obviously, they have different intentions. In these cases, it is better to just let go of him and move on. This is one fight that is not worth fighting.

Give this 7-step approach a try and let us know how it helped you. If you have any other suggestions do let us know in the comments for the benefit of fellow readers.

Image Courtesy:   mhoman


  1. Great tips! I think that it is really important to assess and accept. Doing these actions allow you to deal with it directly and not get emotional ~ remember it’s business nothing personal. Solve the issue and move on.

  2. What an interesting medium, to now have customer complains being aired, discussed, and resolved all in a public forum! While public complaints are never fun, it’s always a nice opportunity to be able to respond in public so everyone else can see whether the complains are valid, or whether the customer is just the type of person that wouldn’t have been satisfied with anything.


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  2. BizSugar.com says:

    7-Step Action Plan to Deal with Negative Publicity on Social Media…

    The negative publicity about your business on social media can hurt your business. In this post we show 7-step action plan that is guaranteed to neutralize it and even help create positive results….