There may be moments when something bad happens on your brand’s Facebook page. No matter how carefully you take care of your community, some of your actions will annoy a number of your fans, which leads to page unlikes, negative comments and spam reports. One simply cannot please everyone. But there are also moments when a decision of yours will get masses pissed off. Entire groups or communities might turn against your brand through social media. These kinds of fans can cause a viral negative feedback effect, which can lead to significant damage to your brand image. You sure don’t want them to break the whole building that you are in. Instead of that you might prefer telling them that it’s not your intention to piss them off so hard. Not as easy as it sounds?

These conflicts have been there since the beginning of the communication between brands and people on Facebook. There are numerous examples of companies trying to defend their doings from them. Some of you might remember the Serla Orava crisis*, Nissan Australia and many others.

If your Facebook-page faces an assault from Angry Fans, you should remember these six points in your Facebook communication in order to more successfully answer to the complaints:

1. Do not underestimate the spreadability of Social Media – bad news travel fast. Respond fast and correct all misunderstandings in the first place in a personal manner so that every single complainer feels that their opinion has been taken into account. This is just as similar as serving all customers in a coffee shop when being on Facebook.

2. Thank everyone for their comments – It doesn’t matter if you’re right of wrong. You have your right to have your own opinion and tell it, and the receiver has a duty to listen.

3. Speak the consumer’s language. This is important when both giving public responses or replying directly on Facebook. You have to use clear words and examples to prove that your decision is well reasoned.

4. Make it clear that there is a good intention in everything you do and it’s not done to underrate anyone or anything. Stand behind your words.

5. Be creative. Use something emotionally strong in a creative way to prove your decision is good. Being too official and stony in social media is not good.

6. And finally – anticipate. If you think that someone may get pissed off about what you are going to do, be prepared to react on it. In the best case, communicate in a way that when it comes to the point when you announce the decision it is felt more acceptable.

Failure to understand the audience and social media communicational culture may inflame a crisis. One may ruin a very good and positive social media campaign if all the communication decisions are not estimated thoroughly when "shit hits the fan."

What is Serla Orava crisis?
Serla, a well-known Finnish household paper-brand faced an assault from consumers through Facebook during and after a charity campaign they conducted between September 2011 and January 2012. Overall, the campaign went well until Serla announced that they wouldn’t do exactly as they had told in the previous marketing messages. This ended up into hundreds of negative posts & comments on Serla Orava (a Serla brand figure) Facebook page, four news articles, an anti-Serla Facebook group and in a petition against Serla. Complicated enough, Serla was doing accordingly what had been said in the rules of the campaign, but most of the consumers and participants felt the decisions that Serla made were shockingly unfair. See more on Serla's Facebook -page