Pop Quiz: One user is frequenting your Facebook page to post negative comments about a perceived slight regarding your product or service, what do you do? What’s worse is that the user is trying to incite your other customers right in your Facebook page and his one negative comment has snowballed into a long thread of complaints, grievances and hostility. Without the services of an Online Reputation Management company, your common knee-jerk reaction is to lash back at the particular commenter, which is the last thing you should do. This is a battle you could not win.
If you don’t have a crisis management plan in place now in case of a major PR disaster, then you are putting yourself in an unnecessary risk. Remember McDonald’s campaign at the start of 2012 encouraging its customers to post their experiences with the giant fast food chain with the Twitter hash tag #mcdstories? Instead of good experiences, however, customers littered the Interweb with horror stories about their negative experiences.
Sometimes your association with personalities can also reflect badly on your brand. This was what happened with Macy’s and its association with Donald Trump. The retail store was forced to sever ties with the billionaire after he dangled a $5 million to President Obama to produce his passport application and college records. The best offence is the best defiance. Using an online reputation management service, you can minimize the risks of a nasty PR incident.
Don’t air you dirty laundry in public
Getting back to the original question: what do you do with the irascible commenter? You don’t trade barbs and match the level of hostility. Approach the problem in a calm and collected manner and assess whether the commenter has a case for complaining. If you think it’s your problem, apologize immediately and make sure to reach to the commenter privately. There are companies that specialize in SEO Reputation Management to make sure that the negative comments don’t spill over to the search engine results page whenever customers search for your brand.
Managing a PR disaster
Practice makes perfect. Before a developer will run an application or website, it will first undergo a beta test. When you already have a crisis management plan in place to counter negative online publicity, make sure that you test that plan against simulated scenarios (preferably unscheduled) with the help of the online reputation management company to make sure it holds up well against any event.
Harnessing Online Reputation Management to Counter Negative