Social Media Tips for Businesses: Dealing With Online Criticism

Have you ever been in a situation where information has gotten into the wrong hands, or even been untrue, and when trying to correct it, that situation is made worse? Many would typically refer to this as the Streisand effect. For those of you who aren’t familiar with this term, it is associated with (yes, that’s right) Barbra Streisand. The term was coined in 2003 when Barbra Streisand attempted to suppress images of her home in California; instead of this, she ended up publicising the images further.

In the modern world of social media this happens on a daily basis, the worldwide web allows ease in posting about absolutely anything, but the introduction of the internet and more specifically social media has created a pedestal from which the public are able to state their views and opinions. This could easily manifest itself in the form of customers leaving feedback on your social media platforms, and what they have to say may not always be positive.

So what do you do when your business is criticised on worldwide platforms?

1) Value constructive criticism
Just because social media invites many unvalued opinions, it still is worth businesses looking at their reviews, tweets, replies and comments. After all, these ‘unvalued opinions’ are your potential customers.

2) Always reply
If you read a negative post directed at your business, reply, and show you are willing to fix any issues or concerns caused.  Nothing is worse for a frustrated customer than being ignored or feeling like they don’t have a voice.

3) Show your personality
My final tip comes from examples of big brands that have been left to react in unique ways which highlight their personality, and in turn worked in their favour.
Sainsbury’s and Greggs are some of the most recent examples of successfully dealing with online criticism.

Greggs felt the pressure when an unknown source tampered with the company logo and slogan.  The news quickly spread to social media and Greggs were receiving tweets that were embarrassing to the brand. The team at Greggs replied with their heads held high and showed some personality in response, even tweeting a picture of sausage rolls in the name of google, prompting for a quicker fix on their end.

Sainsbury’s have recently acted in a similar way when an unhappy but light-hearted customer tweeted them. Sainsbury’s replied with some amusing puns and the Twitter chat became national entertainment.  You can check out the pun filled COD-versation below.


So there you have it, some tips and real life examples of how to deal with your online criticism. Remember, the customer is always right!

Shareena Grewal
Shareena Grewal graduated from Southampton Solent University, where she achieved a 2:1 in Media Culture & Production. Shareena comes to Digital Clarity with a background in media, including event planning, production and marketing. As well as this, Shareena has been certified by the IDM (Institute of Direct & Digital Marketing) and specialises in social media, helping clients to define, curate and grow their brands online.