What’s the first thing you do when you’re frustrated by a product or service? Most people instinctively complain to anyone who will listen. With smartphones in every pocket in today’s world, blasting out these negative messages is easier than ever, as you can blog, Facebook, Tweet, Yelp, or otherwise lodge your complaint on a variety of networks that instantly notify everyone you’ve ever met.

In contrast, many people also take to the internet when they want to share a positive experience. Bragging is an underlying theme in a great deal of social media posts, as social media is self-promotion at its finest.

Social media for businesses isn’t just about advertising yourself and your company. It’s about interacting with your employees, your friends, and your clients in a very public spotlight. As such, you want to showcase your stellar customer service. How? Here are a few tips.

5. Don’t forget about basic etiquette. Say “please” if you are making a request. Be polite and friendly. Avoid talking about controversial topics, e.g., politics or religion, unless you are ready for some potentially heated discussions from your audience. Creating politically incorrect content in any public forum can, in the long run, be incredibly damaging for your company in unexpected ways.

4. Say “thank you”. There are many reasons to thank someone online. If someone accepts your connection request, send them a message to say thank you. Most people don’t. This will make you stand out in their perspective. That’s the whole goal, isn’t it? Make it a point to always respond to anybody who reaches out to you. You don’t have to keep comment threads going forever, but don’t just ignore messages from people who have you on their mind.

3. Always keep your cool. If you receive negative comments or interactions, do NOT just delete the messages and hope the problem goes away. Respond politely and publicly with a genuine apology for the unsatisfactory experience and an offer to work out the problem with a real live person; provide contact information for a customer service rep, such as a phone number or email address.

The only exception to this rule is if the message is excessively rude and uses vulgar language. Many consumers realize the bullying power of social media and can attempt to goad, threaten or blackmail you into discounts or free services. On most social networks, troublemakers can be banned or blocked from posting on your page. This should be your absolute last resort.

2. Let the good outweigh the bad. Positive reviews are wonderful! However, if you are receiving negative reviews, on some websites, there is nothing you can do about it. These reviews can only be countered with more positive reviews, to allow the reader to make their own informed decisions about your company. There has been a great deal of controversy about this practice with Yelp, among other review-centric websites, especially recently.

1. Collect and share all of your testimonials. Any time anybody sends you a positive message about your company, your services, your products, or any of your employees, this is a testimonial. Copy and paste the text into an offline document, or collect a folder full of screenshots of the original posts, and make sure to have backup copies. You should be using these testimonials to promote your company.

If someone writes “This company rocks!” on your Facebook page, you should reply with a personalized “thank you” message.  In addition, you should quote them on your website (you do have a testimonials page on your site, don’t you?), schedule a few Tweets about it, update your LinkedIn status, pin to your “Testimonials” board on Pinterest, and so on, on all of your social networks. You don’t have to do this all at the same time – you can and should schedule these posts out over time. Recycling content can be a great strategy on any site with a news feed; there will always be people who missed your post the first time around.