Angry comments started to pour into Groupon UAE's Facebook page in March.
Customers of the online-deals company complained about late deliveries and faulty devices.
"The ab machine I ordered was incomplete and even the machine was faulty," said one customer regarding his order in April.
Similar comments, however, did not shut down the page on Facebook. Today, Groupon UAE, which appears on Facebook in the Middle East, has more than 39,000 followers, and the company continues to use the site to reach out to its clientele.
But many other companies shy away from using social media.
Eight out of 10 companies in the Middle East do not use social media because of its potential to damage a brand's reputation, a survey by Bayt.com, one of the largest online recruiters in the region, highlighted.
Other perceived challenges include the difficulty in making money out of an online presence, getting the tone of the message right, and keeping up with feedback.
Many companies did not want to engage in social media to tell the public about their activities "for fear of how masses would come back and react to [these]", said Rabea Ataya, the chief executive at Bayt.
And they also do not want to air negative feedback, he added. "But if people want to air negative comments they can anyway through their own Facebook and Twitter accounts," Mr Ataya said.
The reluctance towards social media by businesses can also be attributed to the Arab Spring, which saw a wide use of social media tools as the protests mounted.
"It scared people [and corporates] with its power to bring down whole governments," said Prasanth Kumar, the digital strategy director at Tonic International in Dubai. The company helps enterprises implement online business strategies.
Incorporating social media into a business takes time, and needs to be carefully planned.
"Engage customers in conversation ... ignoring them does not work," Mr Ataya said.
Groupon Middle East, for instance, responded to most of the comments and concerns of their customers on their Facebook page.
"Due to the nature of our business this channel allows us to communicate effectively with our customers, engage them and build relationships," said Simon Pugh, a spokesman for Groupon Middle East.
The answer to overcoming the fear of social media and using it more effectively is to have a highly trained and internet savvy workforce. All it needs is investment in time.
Employees can be trained mainly on the tone, language and content of the social media messages, said Mr Ataya.
Bayt, for instance, regularly asks its 74,000 followers on Facebook for feedback and help. It also posts product launches and pictures of in-house events, even though many posts do not attract comments.
"Access to social channels is increasingly going mobile," added Mr Kumar. "Voice recognition will become increasingly important. Companies that have ignored 'voice' branding should take note; and crowd sourcing for information, if not for discounts, will only get more important."
Groupon Middle East uses Twitter and Google Plus, apart from Facebook, and is eyeing other social media channels.
And it showed faith in its social media manager earlier in the year.
"[Groupon's social media manager] works day and night to make our Facebook page exciting, attractive and more interactive," said Mr Pugh. "He ... responds to every inquiry he receives and gives out his personal mobile phone number to every customer for further assistance."
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