© 2017, © Emerald Publishing Limited. Purpose: Social networks offer consumers the ability to voice their opinions of brands in a real-time, public setting. This represents a unique challenge for firms as brand managers must develop new strategies for properly communicating with consumers, especially in the event of a service failure. The purpose of this research is to explore the impact of various adaptive service recovery strategies via social media, specifically Twitter. Design/methodology/approach: Through a series of experimental manipulations, four service recovery strategies are tested alongside two variations of consumer complaint tweets. The service recovery responses vary in their degree of adaptiveness, which have differential impacts on numerous consumer outcome variables. Findings: The findings indicate that highly adaptive recoveries responses positively impact consumers’ evaluations of service recovery satisfaction, leading to greater consumer behavioral intentions. Additionally, the type of tweet the consumer sends may further reveal their expectations for adequate service recovery responses. Originality/value: This study is the first to empirically test the use of social media platforms in the service failure and recovery context. Although social media is commonly used for such purposes by practitioners, academic research up to this point has predominately focused on social media for generating word-of-mouth. Further, this study seeks to examine how service adaptability is perceived from the customer perspective, as opposed to the more traditional employee viewpoint.