How to Deal with the Social Media Swarm Mentality

Although social media platforms have enabled us to connect with our brand communities quicker and easier, we know that social media has also enabled those with negative experiences to voice their disdain in a much more public platform. This negative commentary can also be followed or shared by many others who may have experienced similar negative experiences with a business.

Below are some tips to respond to such comments, which can mitigate the damage and hopefully cause others following to see the whole picture before tossing your brand under the bus.

Manage Your Community

Just like having a public relations professional to deal with negative publicity, it is wise to have a capable community manager.

Customers will post questions, comments and concerns that can be seen and read by anyone, so it is always good to have someone from your company responding to those comments – good or bad. It not only shows that you are active, but that you are prepared to listen and engage in a dialogue with your customers.

Showing that you are taking the initiative to address customer issues can convert an unsatisfied customer to someone willing to give you a second chance.

Consider the Our Food. Your Questions.® campaign launched by McDonald’s in response to thousands of comments made on their social media platforms.

More Than Just Another Advertising Platform 

Social media should not just be treated like another way of  deploying only advertising promotions; it should also be treated like a face-to-face conversation. Just like a comment card, social media is a way for customers to bring forward suggestions for improvements that you may not have considered.

Allowing your brand community the opportunity for dialogue about your business will show them you want to conduct your business with them in mind. Constantly bombarding people with sales and marketing ads on social media shows customers you’re only interested in the bottom line, not how they perceive your brand. To further this point, take a look at the “The 10 Biggest Social Media Marketing Fails of 2013”, published by Business Insider.

Sell Yourself

Word of Mouth advertising will always be around, especially if your customers have a negative experience. Social media provides you with the opportunity to help clear up misconceptions about your business that someone may have heard from a friend of a friend. It’s also a great idea to follow-up with those who may have had a negative experience, and ask them if you have improved your services or product performance.

Another thing to keep in mind is avoiding over promises like: “We offer the best customer service”. That can easily expose you to a number of negative comments. You shouldn’t lie to your customers, even just to grab their attention, like Discovery Canada did all in the name of promoting a program.

This is the video that Discovery Canada published on YouTube in July 2014. They added an “Extended Director’s Cut Version” to show that it was a hoax a month later with the video description saying, To see the full series “In Search of Canada’s Rogue Shark” go to: www.Discovery.ca/RogueShark.

Instead, consider how you will phrase your claims on social media: “We promise to offer you, or your guests, great customer service. If you have not had a positive experience at our store, please let us know by calling (or commenting on this post, etc).” Again, you’re encouraging dialogue and inviting customers to voice their concerns in a productive manner.

Using social media as a means to connect and listen to your brand community shows your customers just how much you value their business. It can be risky but the rewards are greater loyalty from all members of your brand community.


Thanks to Angelina Attisano who suggested the idea and provided some solid content that was instrumental in the crafting of this post.

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  • http://www.integraphix.com/ Advertising Agency

    Why do you have the Twitter logo up there twice in the graphic? And yes, selling yourself is huge. As a digital marketing firm in Charlotte, we know how much competition there is in social media.

  • http://www.aversio.com/nl/home Harry Jansen

    Hi Wayne, more often business heads fail to utilize social media effectievely to improve their traffic for their websites. You have mentioned some very insightful tips to improve social media marketing. Thanks for posting.