5. Although social is informal, professionalism is still key, especially when you've made a mistake.
Remember that every comment, tweet, and reply you make is public. And that's not a bad thing! But it does mean that missteps are instantly shared with your community. If you find yourself in a position like the American Red Cross did, when an employee accidentally tweeted about drinking from a corporate account rather than a personal one, move quickly to rectify the situation. One of the worst things that you can do is to ignore it, so delete the mistake, acknowledge it to your fans and followers, and move on. If you've upset customers, make sure to apologize as soon as you can to stem the issue from going viral.
If you do find your brand in a situation where you've angered or offended consumers, make sure to keep the situation from getting personal. Amy's Baking Company, a restaurant featured on Kitchen Nightmares earlier in 2013, publicly threatened retaliation against customers and former employees who shared their negative experiences at the restaurant on social pages and review sites. After a series of aggressive and inappropriate responses on all networks, the company claimed their accounts had been hacked, but no one was buying it at that point. Don't escalate an already unpleasant situation by attacking people who are already upset.
6. Treat every negative review as a chance to win back business.
When a customer submits a particularly negative review about your product or brand, remember that 83 percent of complainants either like or LOVE the fact that companies respond (with almost three out of four customers being satisfied with the response they received). Take some time to apologize that their experience wasn't everything they had hoped it would be, and if appropriate, encourage the customer to contact you privately to resolve. Don't send them back into the top of the funnel of your customer service chain—they've likely already gone through this process, so help them connect with the right person to solve their issue. Not all complainants will come back, but customers who are satisfied with how you've handled the situation may give you their business again.