How (NOT) to Handle Negative Comments on Social Media

Recently, I watched an episode of Kitchen Nightmares with two restaurant owners who appeared to be off their rockers. It ended up being the first show that Chef Ramsey walked away from, after realizing the owners were just too difficult to work with. I thought the nightmare would end with the show, but they decided to keep it rolling onto their Facebook page.

After the show aired, many people flocked to the restaurant’s Facebook page to voice their opinions on the owner’s actions and attitudes. The owners started calling everyone haters and sinners, which drove additional negative comments their way. Did the owners realize their mistake and try to apologize? Of course not. They continued to lash out and spiral out of control, for what is now dubbed “the biggest social media meltdown (for a business) of all time”.


Amy's Baking Company - Facebook Meltdown

Unless your business wants to follow in their footsteps, here are the top 5 things not to do when faced with negative comments on Facebook:

  1. Insult your naysayers: Unless your mentality is still at a kindergarten level, keep the insults at bay. This is your opportunity to show how professional you are, not a chance for you to come up with the best comeback. Adding insults to the mix will only fuel the fire, and like we saw in this case, fire spreads quickly.
  2. USE ALL CAPS: NO ONE LIKES TO BE SHOUTED OUT, SO TAKE YOUR FINGER OFF THE CAPS LOCK. If you’re going to say anything at all, stick to regular font, keep it professional, and avoid getting defensive.
  3. Threaten to take them to court: Sorry to break it to you, but people have the right to voice their opinion on your page, regardless of how negative or “mean” it may be. Threatening them with legal actions will only make you look petty, desperate, and over-the-top. If you are truly being harassed, you have the option of simply blocking them.
  4. Brag about your success: If you didn’t have customers, your success would be non-existent. If you tell them you can make millions without them, you may find out the hard way just how much they mean to your bottom line.
  5. Try to retract all your statements by claiming your Facebook, Yelp, Twitter, and Website were all hacked: If you made a mistake, suck up your pride and apologize. Allow time to ease some of the sting of your wrong-doing, and try everything you can to remedy the situation. It may take a very long time and a lot of effort to earn back your customer’s trust, so be prepared for the battle ahead.

Before you make the decision to respond back to negativity on your business’ social media pages (Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, etc.) take a second to think through the possible ramifications of what you are about to say. It takes years to build up a brand, and only seconds to destroy it.