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Reputation Management Primer: Part 4 – Responding to Sentiment


When someone praises your company or product, get in on the conversation. Thank them for their patronage and they’ll tell everyone how great your brand is.

reputation management twitter exampleIt doesn’t have to be much, but you should respond to every comment you can. People love knowing that a company they like is paying attention to them. This is the easiest and most pleasant bit of reputation management.

Negative Sentiment on Twitter

According to a recent survey nearly half of the people that used Twitter to complain about a business expected the business to respond. Furthermore, of the people that were contacted over Twitter by the offending business 83% of them liked or loved being contacted! A response is all that 83% needed to change their opinion about that business. Even if the problem can’t be resolved it still lets customers know that you care, and sometimes that’s all they need to give you a second chance.

How To Know When To Respond To Negative Sentiment

Before you start defending yourself all over the internet, you need to ask yourself a few questions first:

  • Is the review/comment/webpage real or fake?
  • Is the complaint legitimate or is the customer just misinformed?
  • Does the complaint show up when you search for your brand/product in Google?

Fake Reviews

Unfortunately you can’t control fake/spam reviews, it’s eventually going to happen to you. It’s best to not respond to the fake review unless it seems to be truly influencing your potential customers. Don’t underestimate your potential customers, they can recognize false reviews. If you have a good rapport with your customers then they may even come to your defense.

spam review and responseIf the review is in violation of the guidelines you may be able to flag it and possibly get removed. If it just won’t go away the best thing you can do is get as many positive reviews as possible. They will eventually push the negative review down far enough that it will be just a memory.

Misinformed Customers

People get confused sometimes, maybe they read an ad too fast or your fine print is too fine. Respond to the customer with grace. If this is something that happens a lot maybe you need to change your website a bit.

Legitimate Complaints

Make it right. Easy enough. If you can’t respond to everything people say about you on the internet, these are the ones you simply can’t ignore. Once you make it right kindly ask the customer to remove the negative post and post a followup.

Negative Sentiment on the 1st page of Google

When someone does a search for your brand and they see a negative review on the first page where do you think they’ll click first? You could have 100 positive reviews, but one negative review can trump them all if it’s the only one visible.

petsmart negative sentiment

This Petsmart store in Ontario needs help. The first listing is a negative review from over a year ago, and how could anyone resist clicking the page about getting assaulted?

You can’t ignore highly visible negative content associated with your brand. Each case is different, but in the end your goal is to get the negative content removed or at the very least diminish its visibility.

When To Let It Be

The Streisand Effect is what happens when an attempt to hide or remove a piece of information results in the unintended consequence of publicising the information more widely.

In 2003 a photographer taking photos of the California coastline to document coastal erosion for the government took a photo which included Barbra Streisand’s house. She tried to have it removed from the publicly available collection and unsuccessfully sued the photographer for $50m.

streisand effect

Here’s the photo that caused such a fuss

Due to Streisand’s very public actions people found out about the photo and viewed it millions of times.

It hurts when there’s true or false content on the internet about you that you’d rather not have available to people. In most cases there’s very little recourse you can take to get it removed without causing a stink.

If the content isn’t getting noticed then you should ignore it too and monitor it in case it turns into something big.

Next Week

We’ll go over tactics you can use to get rid of negative reviews

This entry was posted in Facebook, Google Places, Insights, PR, Social Media, Social Media Monitoring, Twitter, Word of Mouth and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Reputation Management Primer: Part 4 – Responding to Sentiment

  1. Pingback: Reputation Management Primer: Part 3 – Monitoring Sentiment | e-CBD Blog

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