What To Do With Bad Social Media Reviews: A Step-by-Step Guide

Apr 1, 2022 11 min read

Getting bad social media reviews isn’t a good feeling.

When customers feel strongly enough to take to a public platform and let other people know, it can shake your confidence. Not to mention, it can impact the success of your business.

But don’t panic.

When handled correctly, there are ways to overcome negative social media reviews. You just need to know what to do and when to do it.

Fortunately, you’ve come to the right place for guidance.

In this article, we’ll take you through the best practices for handling negative social media reviews, including the ins and outs of how you should reply.

You can directly jump to a section of your choice or keep scrolling.

Why Social Media Reviews Are Good For Business?

There’s no denying it social media reviews can influence customer buying behavior.

79% of consumers trust online reviews as much as they’d trust a personal recommendation. And second to Google, consumers search Facebook for reviews about a business they’re considering buying from.

But what about bad reviews? Surely they can turn customers away?

Unfortunately, bad reviews are one of the risks you take when establishing an online presence. And yes, they can harm the way customers perceive your brand.

The good news is, getting negative reviews isn’t always a bad thing.

Bad reviews are an opportunity to show that you care about resolving issues and addressing customer concerns. They can also identify areas of improvement for your business, allowing you to provide a better service for customers going forward.

So it’s not all doom and gloom when it comes to bad reviews. Although they don’t necessarily feel like a good thing, they can position your business as an attentive company and help you make positive changes for the future.

How To Handle Negative Social Media Reviews?

You’ve received a negative review. Your first instinct is panic.

Everyone can see this review. How will potential customers perceive my brand?

First of all, stop worrying. Everyone gets bad reviews. The best thing to do is rectify the problem and support the unhappy customers.

To get you started on the right foot, here are some best practices to help you handle bad reviews in the right way.

Try Not To Take It Personally

Don’t take bad reviews personally. Whoever is leaving a bad review isn’t doing it to personally attack you. It’s about the business, the product or service they received, and how they feel about it.

Separate yourself from the review and look at it objectively. This will help you form a well-written and impartial response instead of one fuelled by anger or distress.

Here’s a great example from Halo Verify:

Try Not To Take It Personally

Image Source: Trustpilot

Although the review specifically mentions that the staff wasn’t helpful or friendly, the response is impartial. Had the company decided to take it personally, the response could have been entirely different.

So try to distance yourself from the review on a personal level. Remember that it’s not a personal attack, and you’ll be able to respond politely and professionally.

Don’t Ignore Them

As much as you might want to ignore a bad review and brush it under the carpet, this is the last thing you want to do


For two reasons:

  1. The perception of your brand to potential customers.
  2. Further angering the upset customer.

Let’s look at potential customers first.

93% of consumers use online reviews to inform their buying decisions. So chances are some potential customers will come across any bad reviews on your social media.

Now put yourself in their position for a second.

If you see bad reviews that haven’t been addressed by the company, what would that make you think? That the company is ignoring them? Or that they don’t care enough to solve the problem and reach out to the customer?

Either way, it’s not a good look.

You don’t want to come across as disconnected from your reviews, so you need to be active and responsive whether the reviews are good or bad. This will show potential customers that you care about their experience should they choose to buy from you.

Failing to respond to reviews can also further harm the customer that left the review. If they don’t feel as though they’ve been listened to, their perception of your brand won’t change.

People often rely on personal recommendations. So if your unhappy customer doesn’t feel like their problem has been solved, they’re unlikely to recommend you to anyone else.

The bottom line is that you must publicly address any bad reviews. Remember that it’s not always about satisfying the disgruntled customer — it can also impact the way potential customers perceive your brand.

According to Jessica Ulloa, Community Manager at MyPerfectResume, "I’m sure you use social media to connect closely with your clients and so you have a responsibility to answer not only their positive comments but especially their negative ones. This is your chance to show the rest of the people reading those comments that you can take responsibility, address the problem and seek a solution. And as a result, you will get clients who trust your brand and remain loyal to you."

Put A Process In Place

Bad reviews need to be addressed quickly. The longer they’re left unanswered, the more chances people have to see the review without your response.

But we know it’s easier said than done keeping on top of all your reviews. Especially if your business is growing and you’re constantly getting new reviews.

So what can you do to make sure your reviews receive a response quickly?

One way to tackle this is to use a workflow management platform to automate the process. That way, you can keep on top of reviews and make sure you reply to them promptly.

For example, let’s say you’re using a workflow management platform that’s integrated with your social media.

As soon as someone leaves a review on your social media, the work management platform notifies a relevant team member. It also creates a task for them to respond to the review within 24 hours.

By having this process in place, you can ensure that your bad reviews are dealt with quickly. None of them will get lost as the software will automatically create a task, allowing you to track progress and make sure all the reviews are addressed.

And the quicker you address them, the sooner you can have your say and try to make things right for the customer.

If you want to find out more about automating your social media management, take a look at what we offer at Statusbrew.

Consider Using Influencers To Establish Your Brand

If you’re struggling to overcome negative reviews on social media, you might want to think about influencer marketing.

Influencer marketing involves partnering with well-established people on social media (known as influencers) to increase brand awareness and change brand perception. Users will see someone they trust using your products, and they’ll start to trust it, too.

With the right influencers, you can show customers that your product or service is reliable, high-quality, and worth buying.

Take a look at this example from Eddie Bauer.

The outdoor clothing brand partners with a variety of Instagram influencers to promote its products and show them in action. Here’s a partner post with Brooke Willson:

Consider Using Influencers To Establish Your Brand

Image Source: Instagram

By partnering with this account, Eddie Bauer starts to build a relationship with Brooke Willson’s followers.

If you’re struggling to combat negative reviews and articles, partnering with influencers can help you overcome this challenge. It’ll show consumers that your brand is trustworthy and reliable, allowing you to take control and change the narrative surrounding your brand.

Identify Common Trends

If there are commonalities between the bad reviews, take these into account. There’s probably a reason why the same issue keeps cropping up.

Whether it’s with your product, your delivery and shipping process, or your customer service, consider any commonalities. Not only will this provide a better service for customers in the future, but it’ll also show existing customers that you’ve taken their feedback into account and put changes in place.

As we previously discussed, if you’re integrating your social media with a work management platform, you can streamline this process.

Depending on the platform you use, you can pull the reviews into your data pipeline and categorize them based on the topic of the review.

For example, let’s say you categorize all reviews that talk about pricing. By bulking these reviews together, you can easily review customer thoughts and make any necessary changes.

How To Respond To Bad Social Media Reviews?

Now that we’ve covered how to handle negative social media reviews, let’s outline some of the key things to consider when you’re responding to them.

Acknowledge Their Point Of View

One of the main reasons customers leave bad reviews is because they want their experience to be acknowledged.

They want the company to understand what happened and why they’re leaving a bad review.

When you’re responding to a review, keep this in mind. If you respond in a hostile and accusatory way, the customer won’t feel seen, and the issue won’t get resolved. You need to show them that you’ve listened to what they said and that you apologize for the inconvenience.

If their review is unreasonable, you can address this. But always make sure to acknowledge their point of view as well. Something as simple as “we’re sorry to hear you experienced this” will do the trick.

Think Carefully About Your Language

The language you use in your responses is important. If it’s not worded correctly, you could come across as insensitive and accusative instead of apologetic and sympathetic.

So how can you make sure that you use the right language?

Unfortunately, we can’t answer this for you. Every review is different, so the way you respond will vary from person to person.

However, there are some best practices you can follow to make sure your language hits the right tone. Here’s what we’d suggest:

Keep It Polite

Even if you don’t agree with the review, or you suspect it’s a fake review (sometimes that can happen), you need to be pleasant and polite in your response.

If you don’t keep the tone polite, you risk coming across as defensive and impolite, which potential customers certainly won’t appreciate.

Here’s a good example from a car dealership:

Think Carefully About Your Language

Image Source: Facebook

The response from the dealership is sympathetic and respectful, even though the review itself is not.

Be Sincere

People can tell if your response isn’t sincere. And when you don’t come across as sincere, it can impact the way potential customers perceive your brand. Not to mention, the customer who left the review won’t be happy, either.

There are a couple of ways to ensure that your response is sincere:

  • Take responsibility for the situation, even if you’re not directly at fault.
  • Apologize for what happened and offer a solution.
  • Be honest about what you can do to rectify the issue, and don’t make false promises.
  • Use personalized language and address the reviewer by name.

Don’t Copy And Paste The Same Response

Speaking of being sincere, all of your responses should be unique. Having a loose outline to guide you is fine, but don’t copy and paste the same text for each response.

Not only does it show that you’re not taking the review seriously, but also that you’re not taking the feedback on board. You’re simply cutting and pasting the same text for every response instead of reading the review, taking their thoughts on board, and crafting a tailored response.

Move The Conversation To A Private Forum

Although you should always respond to every negative review publicly, there’s no reason why you can’t ask a customer to move the conversation over to a private forum. This allows you to have an in-depth discussion away from your social media page.

It’s also a great way to follow up with customers if you’re unable to provide a simple solution in response to their reviews. To make sure their issue gets resolved, some back-and-forth communication might be necessary.

And by moving the conversation into a direct message, you can also offer a unique promo code or discount to unhappy customers.

So how can you move the conversation to a private forum?

There are a few ways you can approach this:

  • Ask the customer to send you a direct message via social media. In your response to their review, tell them that you’d like to continue the discussion on a private message. Ask them to send you a message. Then you can start a dialogue that goes into more detail. Take a look at Skyscanner’s Instagram account as an example:

Move The Conversation To A Private Forum

Image Source: Skyscanner Instagram

  • Reach out to the customer directly via social media. This is arguably the best option as it means the customer has the least work to do. Ultimately, you don’t want the customer who left the review to go out of their way to keep the discussion going. That’s up to you. However, it’s not always possible to contact someone directly on social media. Depending on their privacy settings and whether or not they like/follow your page, you may not be able to reach out to them via direct message.

  • Provide contact information so the customer can call or email you. If you’d prefer to take the discussion off social media, give the customer your email address or contact number.

Whatever you decide to do, make sure you follow up on the discussion. The last thing you want is to ask a customer to reach out then fail to respond or solve the issue. Take the time to find out more about the problem and come up with a successful solution.

Time To Address Your Negative Reviews

Getting bad reviews is a normal part of running a business. Although it’s never a good feeling, you can rest assured that pretty much every business out there has been through the same thing.

Having read this article, you’re now in a good position to tackle any negative reviews that come your way.

Here are our key takeaways:

  • Don’t take bad reviews personally. It’s about the business, not you as a person.
  • Don’t ignore bad reviews. The longer you let it fester, the worse it’ll be when you finally do respond.
  • Have a clear process in place for handling bad reviews. This will make it easier to keep track of your reviews and to respond as promptly as possible.
  • Use influencers to alter your brand perception. If you feel like your negative reviews are impacting your brand perception, influencers can help you take back control of the narrative.
  • Identify any commonalities in your negative reviews. If the same things keep cropping up, your customers could be on to something.
  • Respond quickly, but don’t copy and paste. Each response needs to be unique. Use a guideline to make the process quicker, but don’t use the same text.
  • Be careful about your language choice. To make things right, you need to come across as a genuine and helpful business. Using the wrong tone of voice can misconstrue the meaning behind what you’re saying.

Manage Your Reviews With Statusbrew

Time is of utmost importance when it comes to managing bad reviews on social media. If you receive a lot of reviews, it can be hard to keep a timely track of all of them and address the negative ones as a priority. You need a social media management tool to help you out in such situations.

Statusbrew brings your brand's reviews, ratings, mentions, comments, and more from multiple social channels to a single unified inbox.

Within Statusbrew's Engage Inbox, you can create Saved Replies with placeholders for your team to quickly respond to a certain type of review without having to type the same response again.

You can sort review on the basis of star ratings, manage reviews as a team, assign the conversation to specific team members and leave internal notes for your team members on specific reviews.

With Statusbrew's Reports Lab, you can get detailed response time reports of your team members to understand their response time & how effectively they are managing reviews.

Try Statusbrew

Statusbrew is an all in one social media management tool that supports Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Linkedin, YouTube, and even Google My Business.

Shane Barker

Shane Barker is a digital marketing consultant who specializes in influencer marketing, content marketing, and SEO. He is also the co-founder and CEO of Content Solutions, a digital marketing agency

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