The Cider Mill, The Mom, & A Bad Social Media Review

December 22, 2015 by

bad social media reviewIf it hasn’t happened to you already, chances are it probably will. I’m referring to a bad social media review. An upset customer spills the beans on their Facebook page, which gets shared all over the web.

It happened a few days before Thanksgiving here in the Utica, NY area. A woman was breastfeeding her baby at a popular cider mill and gift shop, the Fly Creek Cider Mill, when an employee asked her to cover up. The customer was not pleased and was humiliated at the request.

The woman wrote a letter of complaint to the cider mill and did not like the reply. So she posted it on Facebook. That prompted thousands of negative reviews on the cider mill’s page, lowering their rating.


What Should You Do If Your Business Gets a Bad Social Media Review?

Don’t Do Nothing
The first piece of advice I get from my Social Media Marketing guru, Nick Usborne, is to avoid the old-school response to bad PR…doing nothing. Back in the day, that was probably good advice. The spat between the cider mill and the nursing Mom probably wouldn’t have gone much further than some negative talk amongst her friends. Maybe a letter to the editor.

But in the age of social media, the do-nothing response doesn’t make sense. It’s too easy for an aggrieved customer to spread their bad review to potentially thousands of connected readers.

So the first thing you should do is to respond to the bad review on your social media. Remember, it’s there for the community to see. Don’t let people think you’re sweeping the problem under the rug. Be patient and understanding and admit it when you’re wrong.

Remember the Times We Live In
Years ago, you would never have seen a Mom breast feed her child in public. But think of the times we live in…Black Lives Matter, Women’s Rights, Gay Marriage…and you realize how easy it is to offend a customer.

Knowledge is a great defense against unwittingly creating sticky situations. You as an owner or marketer need to know your audience well. If you are aware of their sensitivities, you and your employees won’t make mistakes in the first place.

If you do get into trouble, respond that you are aware of the social aspects of the situation and are sensitive to them. (Have you noticed, some of the people you serve are really only happy when they're unhappy?!)

Treat Social Media Just as You Would in a Face-To-Face Situation
If you have an angry customer in your store or office, you’d probably respond by telling them how sorry you are. You'd say that you’re aware they had a poor experience. Then maybe, “What can we do to help?”

It may be the best approach just to say it as simply as that online. Think of it this way, others may chime in with advice, which you then respond to. Before you know it, you’re having a dialogue with your audience. If you’re humble, grateful, and truly sorry, you may be able to turn the whole sordid affair into, believe it or not, positive publicity online.

As with so much of internet content, including Social Media, it’s the one-on-one human interaction that wins the day. Bad reviews are inevitable with the ubiquitous social media. But the right response can not only put out the fire, but gain you even more respect than you had before.

So how did the Fly Creek Cider Mill handle their bad social media review? Take a look at their response on their Facebook page here and let us know what you think. It’s the December 17, 2015 post and for me, it’s right on. Good luck to the Fly Creek Cider Mill and thanks to the Mom who pointed out their honest mistake.

Until next time,

Other posts you might find valuable:

3 Social Media Marketing Mistakes to Avoid

Shares and Retweets are Social Media Rocket Fuel

Nick Burns is an SEO web writer specializing in persuasive copywriting and content marketing. He provides clients a winning content strategy plus the special web writing to make it work. You can contact Nick here.