Avoid surprises through social listening.
Graphic of three cellphones with star conversation bubbles

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Social media problems don’t always rise to the level of massive missteps that result in millions of dollars in lost revenues or the ouster of a CEO. They can involve a dissatisfied client posting a complaint about your brokerage or your business publishing a post that offends a reader.

If your business faces a tough social media situation, it can recover. In a recent survey by Sprout Social, a provider of social media software, 89% of respondents said a business can regain trust if it quickly admits a mistake and openly states how it will fix the problem.

A Success Story

Slack, the business messaging app, handled negative social media posts very well after a major outage in 2022, says Petia Abdur-Razzaaq, CEO of The Stylista Group, a digital marketing agency in New York City. “People were on social media asking what was going on and complaining they couldn’t do their work. Slack responded almost immediately and apologized. After that, Slack kept giving updates until the app was up and running again.”

Use Social Listening

The element of surprise makes it difficult to develop quick responses to social media problems. To make surprises less likely, use “social listening,” recommends Abdur-Razzaaq. This practice involves frequent searches of social media to find out what people are saying about you or your company. You can do this through tools such as Google Alerts or dashboards from Hootsuite or Sprout Social, many of which are available for free or at a low cost.

Adapted from “Social Media Crises: Response + Prevention” by Rachel Antman, published in the Summer 2023 issue of SIOR Report. Antman is founder of Saygency LLC.


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