1) Maggie Rita’s

As a small business owner in the big world of social media, there are a few things that you should know not to do. Play it safe on most polarizing political topics, try to avoid making remarks that could cause racial tension, oh yeah, and avoid insulting your customers.

Pixel News: Social Media Fails

Maggie Rita’s is (unsurprisingly) closed now in all but one of its Houston locations.  A safe bet would be in favor of Amanda Newman’s claim of “Insulting Houston before we tried your food” for ruining the potential business.

But this isn’t the worst of the worst, in fact, let’s take a look at 5 of the biggest small business social media fails!

2) Blue Sky Hostel Hoedown

Blue Sky Hostel recently garnered international media interest after the owner, Todd Pedersen, was goaded into responding to a 1-star review on Facebook.

Lou Taylor, who claims to have spent the night, had this to say:

Pixel News: Social Media Fails

We’ve all seen reviews like this, and some need to be addressed while others are clearly meant to rile us business owners. But whatever you do, don’t act like this guy:

Pixel News: Social Media Fails

That’s right, passive aggressive comments, rash insults, and even calling the former customer “retards”. Someone needs to take a chill pill and re-assess his role at the business!

Todd has gone on to say “There’s no such thing as bad publicity. Who knows what’s going to happen? It doesn’t matter.”

Bonus: Nestlé Rustles Some Jimmies (not a small business, but worth noting!)

Back in 2010 Facebook pages for businesses were a blossoming new way to engage with customers. Some companies found they needed a few rules on the pages, such as Nestle, who innocently asked it’s users to not to use altered versions of their logo on their Facebook page. Sounds like a reasonable request right?

The reaction from fans had perhaps a bit more backlash than expected, with many people telling Nestle that they couldn’t tell them what to do! Nestle’s response was a bit…tactless. They made it clear that this was their page and they set the rules, if you didn’t like it then you could see yourself out.


Even big companies like Nestle can make a few mistakes! Remember, you can’t control your customer’s habits. If someone is clearly trying to incite a riot, feel free to use the “Hide” option on Facebook or delete it and ban the user outright. Otherwise, don’t worry so much about it!

3) Absolutely Outdoors, Absolutely Out of Their Minds

If you don’t want people taking loaded firearms into your store, that’s understandable. If you even go so far as to have a sign on your window saying “NO LOADED FIREARMS ALLOWED INSIDE EXCEPT LAW ENFORCEMENT” then so be it. But if you get an e-mail (even if it is snarky) remember not to respond like this guy.

On June 30th, 2014 Ed Levine sent an email to the business owner, verifying that firearms weren’t allowed inside. He wasn’t the nicest (shame on your Ed) but he felt unjustifiably targetted as a gun owner and discriminated. The response he got, however, was nothing like he could have imagined.

Pixel News: Social Media Fails

Yeesh. That was pretty vicious. Remember kids, if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. Also… It’s best to avoid insulting people’s.. members.. when talking to a potential customer.

4) If You Can’t Stand the Heat

Yelp is a polarizing place. From their shady review display rules to seemingly endless amounts of negative criticism. Yelp remains at the forefront of the review industry (although perhaps not for long as a few consumer trends have noted) despite this.

One thing is for certain; the 1-star reviews are abundant, and Yelp gives people a platform to discuss any problem they have with the establishment. Sometimes there are pleasant reviews, but those are sadly less common unless encouraged, and even then Yelp might hide it from you).

When the owner of the Italian Gourmet got some bad reviews, he didn’t handle it too well.

Pixel News: Social Media Fails

Ouch…Swearing at the customers, that’s a major no-no from Mr. Francesco. But that’s not all from the owners of this fine place. Click any of the thumbnails below for more drama!


That’s a tough one, and you can bet they lost some customers off those exchanges!

Wrap Up

Don’t let yourself turn into this. Be kind when talking to customer, (even the rude ones) and help them through their issue. Some people will refuse to receive help, and that’s okay, other people will see you trying to help and engage in cordial discourse and know what’s up.