Dealing With Negative Comments

By Peter Yexley

Online reputation management is an essential part of internet marketing. It never fails to amaze me how many businesses, small and large go about their daily business without knowing there is negative activity online that is seriously damaging their business.

Online reputation management services UKMany website owners refuse to get involved with social media simply because they fear negative comments about their business being posted online.

Restaurants and hotels take the brunt of bad reviews but with the growing number of review websites and directories, any business is fair game to malicious activity. Facebook can be rife with malicious comments if allowed, and yes, you can control it.

Let’s take a look a very normal day for you at your work. You grab a coffee and fire up the computer to check your emails and log onto your Facebook account.  Suddenly ‘BAM !!’ there is an extremely negative post from an what appears to be an aggravated, upset person. Worse still, as a result of a knee-jerk reaction, or even pack mentality,  others are already following suit.

Who would have thought that you would ever have act so fast to keep your reputation intact?

My advice to you would be to STOP!

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Do not type anything or make any attempt to respond for the moment, do not react in anger, …. calm down and stay calm.
You need a few moments for evaluation.
Determine the real root of the problem.
You might or might not know the person who posted the comment, some strangers simply get a kick out of leaving negative anonymous posts. Like cyber bullying they relish in this nasty activity.
This anti-social behaviour isn’t new, even before Facebook ever existed, they lurked in forums and chat rooms where people are encouraged to ask and answer questions, exchange ideas etc.internet reputation management UKhow do I fix my ...” type of questions.
The larger more professional forums are monitored by moderators,  they are quite alert and keep some sort of order by deleting offensive and abusive comments.
The offenders are called Trolls and they lurk around public online resources, spending their time quite literally posting negative comments, either starting an argument or responding to a fair and sensible comment with a nasty unnecessary remark . Others would negatively respond to that and so-on. Some call it ‘flaming’, others call it ‘raging’.
Trolls only get moved on because it is impossible to completely remove them from the wolrdwide web. They travel to and from various places and might end up on your Facebook page. However it isn’t always Trolls, in actual fact a negative comment could easily be from a genuine aggrieved individual.

So, establish if the comment or negative act is from a ‘Troll’ or a genuine disgruntled individual.

It is important to find out if you are at fault and what you have done wrong


Is this an isolated incident?

Try and work out who the poster is and look for reasons why they are posting negative comments,

Search their name or nickname and study their profile, you might see that they do this all the time to anybody.

It might make you feel slightly better that it isn’t personal, nonetheless your reputation is still at risk


Is the comment is offensive or threatening? – report it immediately.

Look at their photos to see if you recognise anyone at all. Also go to the pages of those who have received negative comments and make contact with them private and ask if they know the person, explain that he has made a nuisance of himself/herself and you were trying to stop this behaviour.


Turn a lemon into a lemonade

If your business is affected by negative online comments it might be worth talking with a social media reputation manager to set up a damage limitation plan.

Feel free to call me on (Peter Yexley) on 01727 825 999


If you are more inclined and confident to deal with your own reputation management, here’s a few  DIY tips to help turn the lemon into a lemonade. See it as an opportunity for your business to shine through

Here are four possible scenarios.

1) It is your fault.

Put your hands up, you or your staff are to blame somewhere along the line.

Simply be gracious and apologise, say ‘sorry’ to everyone concerned, make it a very warm, friendly and sincere


Don’t just leave it as a ‘sorry’ – offer them a complimentary goodwill gesture. Genuine aggrieved customers really appreciate it when you make an effort. Public perception…you are a very nice genuine person that cares about your customers.

2) You are partly to blame but not fully.

You or your staff may have responded badly to unreasonable behaviour. Ignorant drunken attitudes in a restaurant for example. Don’t try to explain it away, just grit your teeth, smile and sincerely apologise anyway. Remember this is reputation management in a public forum so your actions are being monitored and even if you don’t wish to reward bad behaviour, offer a free

gift just as a public gesture. Public perception…you are a very nice genuine person that cares about your customers.

3) It is absolutely not your fault.

Absolutely no gestures of goodwill here, just say sorry in public and say you will send a private message to resolve this

issue. It is not a good idea to engage publicly but broadcast the fact that you are sorry and wish to resolve the problem. It

is better to engage in private and will prevent any further ‘live’ feedback. Public perception…you are a very nice genuine person that cares about your customers.

4) Pure page rage or just a troll.

Will people see this negative comment for what it is? Probably not, most people will see it as a genuine complaint until they read otherwise. Post a brief apology and explain that the message was either a viral and malicious comment, or spam doing the rounds, then delete the negative post, block the poster and very importantly before you delete it, report it to Facebook. Stay calm and carry on! Public perception…you handled it calmly without responding in the manner to which it was delivered.

More Free Tips on Reputation Management

Don’t ignore negative comments, even if they are malicious, they will keep coming back. If you don’t respond, your page will remain full of negative feedback and it will not only look bad on your business and reputation, it shows you don’t care, so don’t shoot yourself in the foot by ignoring it.

Be professional, polite and courteous in your response. Eat humble pie, even if it does have a highly unpleasant taste, you need to publicly show the world that you do care about your clients.

Show them respect even if they are completely wrong and unreasonable. Don’t exchange rage with them, or engage in a public fight. Prove that you are the bigger person, and always be polite.

It might seem sensible to remove all negative posts but if you keep them and use them as an opportunity to show others that you genuinely care about their concerns.

When you do this in a right and proper manner, others are more likely to come to your defence.

The upside to all this is what started out as something very alarming and deeply negative, can turn out to be the best post on your Facebook page!

So keep your head, when all around you are losing theirs, stay calm – and respond in a polite and professional manner.It will happen again, but if all this is too much for you – call in a professional to deal with your social media reputation management.

Call Peter Yexley on 01727 825 999.