How to Complain on Social Media to Get What You Want!

By Clearpoint Agency President, Bonnie Shaw


Our PR and digital marketing firm manages a number of brands on social media, and customer support has become an important part of good social media management. We respond to any negative comments and complaints posted on our clients’ social media channels, most often its on Facebook, Twitter and Yelp. Our goals: respond quickly, decipher the problem and propose a solution.

But it amazes me that some people just don’t know how to complain in a manner that actually gets them what they want faster. So here are some Do’s and Don’ts to effectively complain on social media and get what you want.

businessman yelling through a megaphone


  • Don’t post over the weekend, late at night or during a holiday expecting rapid response. The social media manager who is monitoring the account is human and most likely is not at work during off hours and weekends. Expect delays in response to your weekend comments.
  • Don’t post a general complaint like “this product stinks,” or “I’m disappointed,” etc. Give specifics calmly and politely for quickest results.
  • Don’t rant on and on. Be succinct. It’s tough for the human at the other end to read tons of text to decipher what the problem is and how they might be able to help. It might make you feel better to get it off your chest, but the truth is it makes is more difficult to interpret. Be concise and outline your general complaint and a possible way to resolve.
  • Don’t use expletives, put downs or sarcastic phrases. Most sites have a policy that any comments containing foul or abusive language will be flagged, reported or simply deleted. Most over the top comments will most likely be hidden on Facebook (meaning only you and your friends can see them), deleted from Twitter or possibly deleted from the main post stream by Yelp, which might deem it questionable.
  • Don’t be mean. Remember the person on the other end of the post or call is a human being who probably didn’t invent or manufacture the product, or create the service policies. They are charged with helping you. When you get an email or call back from them, state your complaint calmly and succinctly, and then provide them with an opportunity to suggest a solution.


  • Do use the sandwich technique when you state your complaint. Say something positive about the brand in general or thank them for responding to you quickly (establishes goodwill and trust), concisely state your experience or complaint, provide a possible solution, and then tell them you appreciate the opportunity to outline your complaint. Believe me, this is the best way to get your complaint heard and resolved quickly.
  • Do give the company the benefit of the doubt. The brands we work with are sincere in their desire to make customers happy. They take pride in their products and services, and want to resolve customer complaints. So give them a chance to make things right. If they can’t refund all your money or provide a full replacement, ask if there are any other discounts or ways they might be able to help. Again, they want to make customers happy, but they have limits, too.
  • Do ask for a manager if you don’t feel you are not communicating well with the representative. But be aware that most companies have trained their representatives to do the best job possible and just speaking with a manager most likely won’t get your challenge solved any faster or more to your benefit.
  • Do be reasonable. If you owned your product for many years and it’s been out of warranty for a time, you most likely will not get your money back, no matter how much you complain. Be reasonable and look at the reality of the situation. But what a lot of companies might do with a reasonable customer is offer some parts to fix the problem, provide a discount on a future purchase, send a free sample, or provide a credit or free service for next time.
  • Do spread the love. If a brand has treated you right after a negative comment or complaint. Do thank them via social media. We get all kinds of positive comments after we address a complaint – “Customer service is not dead.” “I love X brand – they are there to help when I need it.” “Spoke with so and so and they were terrific. Thank you!” Comments like these reinforce the brand’s decision to resolve customer complaints and address comments publicly via social media.

I’m confident that if you follow these Do’s and Don’ts for complaining on social media you will find a fair resolution.

This blog was contributed by Clearpoint Agency President, Bonnie Shaw