Negative feedback shouldn’t be ignored, it should be used as an opportunity for positive publicity.

Organisations are no longer able to deal with negative feedback behind closed doors now that it is expressed on social media.

Second year RMIT Public Relations student, Katherine Watson discusses this Web 2.0 issue in her blog post. Watson questions the benefit of social media if it encourages negative comments from customers, something she calls “airing dirty laundry in public”.   

But surely the organisation can just delete the comment and pretend it never happened, right? Wrong!

It may look bad having negative posts on your Facebook page, however not having a platform for this feedback, or deleting negative feedback can look even worse.

Take the controversy surrounding the 2012 decision of the Komen foundation, an American charity organisation, to stop funding Planned Parenthood. Koman deleted much of the negative reaction posted on its Facebook page.


Members of the public protesting the Komen foundation’s decision 


Gini Dietrich, CEO of a marketing communications firm writes  “Komen has faced a massive social media backlash” because “deleting comments from your social media networks is not the way to build positive sentiment and rebuild trust”. There is no point in avoiding negative comments because such discussion will just be created elsewhere and potentially remove the opportunity for you to communicate in the discussion. 



Evidence of customers moving their negative feedback

to other social media platforms.


Dietrich believes the Public Relations professional must listen to negative feedback, not delete it. By failing to do this Komen diminished its brand name. 

In the long run, the amount of time and thought put into reading customer complained and trying to figure out a way to address them will pay off. 

So instead of sticking your head in the sand, why not make the best out of a bad situation and turn negative feedback into positive publicity?

Writer for Media Emerging, a strategic marketing and public relations blog, Scott Hepburn, points out that “negative feedback is a golden opportunity to show that you’re listening, you’re responsive, and you care”. Generally, customers develop their opinions of you by the way you respond, not the actual complaint made. 

Watson is correct in saying that a neglected social media platform can be disastrous.  Negative feedback shouldn’t be  avoided, it should be used as a way to demonstrate positive customer service and a value for customer satisfaction. 



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