I’ve never called myself a social media guru or maven… but I do know a thing or two about social media. One of the things that I know is calling your customers fat, insulting their intelligence, and telling  them to f*ck off (especially if you do that all at once!) is generally frowned upon. 

Some businesses, however, still need to learn that lesson. Here's an example of the exchange between Pigalle Restaurant in Boston and a disgruntled customer.

I’ll let the images do the talking on this example of a social media don't.

Whoops! That was a doozy. Let’s be honest: Those of us that manage brand pages know that there are times we’d LOVE to send off a sassy reply that may not be in our brand’s best interest---but we also know that sharing that reply with a co-worker (or the dog) instead of posting it publicly is ultimately the correct choice. Was the diner’s post nice? No. Did it deserve the response it got? No.

After the local media had a field day with the story and the exchange started spreading around Facebook like wildfire, the page owner removed all of the lovely dialogue and posted an apology. (We can’t be SURE they received marketing help in writing it, but he probably did.)

Here's the apology:

Pigalle, while your fame may be short-lived (and your pumpkin pie chunky), rest-assured that your legend will live on in case studies for years to come. Thank you for so perfectly illustrating this social media don’t.

Marketers, let us remember this lesson: Always take the conflict offline as quickly as possible and resolve it out of the public eye. If that proves to be impossible, be polite, be the bigger person, and keep in mind that everything published online lives forever.

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image of Corey O'Loughlin
Corey O'Loughlin is a marketing manager at MarketingProfs. Reach her via Twitter.