Someone has posted a bad review of your business on Google or a snarky comment on your company's Facebook page, and, if you’re being honest, it cuts a little deeper than you expected. If you’re a business owner, you’ve been there before, or you’ll be there eventually. Knowing what to say—and what not to say—is critical for good brand reputation management. Before you give in to your emotions and give that certain someone a piece of your mind, take a moment. Take a deep breath, and consider how to respond to negative reviews and comments appropriately and effectively.
How to Respond to Negative Reviews & Social Media Comments
One of your first thoughts when you come across a negative review or social media comment may be to simply ignore it. Out of sight, out of mind, right? But the fact is, letting it lie unaddressed is likely more harmful than confronting it head-on. As HubSpot notes, about three-quarters of all consumers read online reviews as part of their research process, so negative feedback and comments on social media can have a damaging effect if you’re trying to drum up new sales.
You may need to use a little critical thinking and analysis to determine if what you’re reading is legitimate feedback or the devious work of an internet troll. The likelihood of being trolled is small, but there’s a non-zero-percent chance you may be the target of someone with too much time on their hands. A Hootsuite blog from Josiah Hughes and Nick Martin suggests that incoherence, insults, and condescension are all signs that you might be the victim of trolling, and your best recourse may very well be to delete what you can, block where possible, and move on.
One thing that could be more harmful than not replying to legitimate feedback is doing so in an unprofessional or inappropriate manner. That’s why it’s important to know how to respond to reviews and social media comments without being negative yourself. So if your immediate impulse is to respond while you’re, as the kids say, in your feelings, just don’t. Take some time to compose yourself and your thoughts, but don’t you dare touch that keyboard until you’re positive that what you’re about to type comes from a place of positivity.
Try not to take too long to get into that space of positive thinking, because promptness is essential to brand reputation management. If you can respond inside of a business day, it shows that you have your ear to the ground and your thumb on the pulse. Whether you respond 24 hours or 24 minutes later, the first order of business is to be kind but professional. Thank the person for their feedback—even if it’s harsh. This shows your willingness to learn and grow as a business, and that includes listening to customers and learning from genuine mistakes.
You can use your response as an opportunity. Whether it’s inviting someone back in to enjoy a product or service at a discount or offering a full refund, show that you’re willing to meet negativity with positivity, which will make potential customers more likely to take the leap and try your business.
One of the most important things is authenticity—Google for Small Business recommends using your name or initials to show that the response is coming from a real human being. So, even if you acquire the services of a brand reputation management firm or build your own in-house, make sure that the statements come from people, not a brand.
Need Help With Brand Reputation Management? Page One Digital Is Here!
Brand reputation management requires more and more work the larger your business grows. And even if you know how to respond to negative reviews and social media comments like a pro, it never hurts to have the help of experts. Page One Digital has you covered, whether you’re looking to build a stronger brand, improve your presence online, or ensure that your website is as strong as possible when it comes to SEO. Whatever you need, contact our team of experts to get started.