Never shy away from negative posts

There’s and old saying in the PR industry that dates back before online communication:

“Any publicity… is good publicity.”

The premise behind this is quite simple: as long as people are talking about you, you’re top of mind and will most likely get business.

However… in online communication, we need to add to this premise:

“Any publicity… is good publicity; as long as you respond.”

#SocialMediaTip: When someone leaves something publicly negative (a review or post on your page/stream), it is important to show closure from your side – that’s good PR. Never shy away.

It’s not about ensuring a happy ending, or proving who’s right or wrong; it’s about closure.


Often, the reason why people leave bad feedback on social media is because the ‘normal’ channels of engagement have broken down. They feel like they have no closure, like their grievance has gone unnoticed.

They may say they want a lifetime supply of chocolate, but really – they simply want someone to care enough to notice their issue; and respond in a way that confirms this.

They have most likely tried to speak to someone in person, and that person was either unavailable or didn’t answer them in the way that they were looking for and dismissed them.

Here’s where the human, emotional – relational – response may be all that is needed.

Try this:

  • Acknowledge and thank them for raising this concern on the platform
  • Try and figure out how they got to this point: who have they spoken to and what channels have they already explored? Try to sort the problem out for them.

After they’ve given you some feedback, and you still feel like there is no way to save the relationship… share something along these lines:

  • Dear [First Name], we are indeed sorry that this has been your experience. We have specifically engaged with our team about this and will use your feedback to hopefully avoid others having a similar experience.


Your client will have closure and you will have your integrity. If they choose to stick with you, then you’ve strengthened the relationship. If they decide to move on to another service provider, well… they’d already decided that before engaging with you in a public forum.

When other clients and potential clients click on the comment stream they will know that you are open to engaging with your customers – regardless of their experience.

It also shows that you are open to making mistakes (you’re human!), and will endeavour to improve where possible and where feasible.

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