Negative Online Reviews and Comments- How to Fight the Trolls
Well it’s that time of year again when witches and trolls of all shapes and sizes are roaming the neighbourhoods chanting “Trick or Treat” and for a small appeasement of chocolate or candy-they will merrily be on their way.
The trolls that I am referring to, though, are not so easily satisfied with candy and they appear all year long. In fact, they manifest themselves on your computer and throughout your social media channels.
I’m referring to the type of person that for whatever reason leaves negative comments/bad reviews etc… so the big question is … What can you do when they attack you?
What Can You Do?
I wish I could say that there was an easy sure-fire remedy to make them go away forever. Unfortunately though, we live in an age where unnamed, unverified avatars can post at will.
However there are some steps, or best practices if you will, that may help.
Negativity On Facebook
If this is happens to you on your personal Facebook profile, then the easiest course of action is to Unfriend that person and be on your way.
In many cases, responding and entertaining the argument can and will add fuel to the fire. In some cases, the person commenting is even looking for a response that will fuel and prolong the comment stream.
The simplest course of action, although it may not give you any personal satisfaction, is to Unfriend and get on with your life.
If it happens on your Facebook Page or in a Facebook Group where you’re an “Administrator”, there are also some options for either temporarily muting and/or blocking the person entirely if it’s warranted.
When it comes to open forums like chat rooms, review sites etc … that’s an entirely different beast altogether because you don’t have the same control as you would your own site or Facebook.
6 Best Practices to Deal with Negative Reviews on Public Forums
Here are 6 Best Practices that you may wish to consider when handling negative reviews in a public forum.
- Contact the review site admin directly. If you feel that the online reviews, comment is unwarranted then the first course of action would be a message to the admin/moderator explaining the problem. With any luck they may intervene, and your problem is solved.
- Familiarize yourself with the culture of the site in question. Scan through previous threads to see if anyone else has experienced what you are dealing with and what was done to resolve the comments.
- Join the conversation -BUT- Not in anger. First of all, ask yourself if this comment/review is fair and/or warranted? If so this is an opportunity to own it, try to fix it and then move on. The last thing you want to do is post a reply in anger which will only fuel the situation more.
- Highlight the Positive. Ok – I know what you’re saying … Michael what can possibly be POSITIVE about a negative comment/review? The answer again depends upon whether it was warranted. If so what can you do to provide a better consumer experience to avoid this from happening again? If you’re genuine with them about wanting to improve your business, and getting their input to do so, you can turn even your biggest critic into a fan.
- Encourage Positive Reviews. If you are providing great content/service do not be afraid to ask for positive comments is return. There is a universal principal of influence called RECIPROCITY. If you provide value people will want to return the kindness … but you need to ask. Plus, a 2016 study by BrightLocal found that the average consumer only reads the last 4-5 of your reviews on any site. So, if you do end up with a negative review or comment, remember that you can always drown it out from being seen by most people with 4-5 positive reviews. Read more about how to turn those reviews into referrals here (Click the link).
- Develop A Strategy For Responding To Online Reviews. Accept the fact that if you put yourself out to world leveraging social media that it is inevitable that sometime, somewhere you will get a negative online review or comment. It’s better to have a policy in place that you can hand off to an admin or a checklist that you can follow to quickly resolve the issue and move on.
Focus on The Positive!
We live in a wondrous time where with the press of a button you can stream video, post comments and photos for the entire world to see. With that comes the understanding that no matter how good your intentions, there will always be someone who for whatever reason doesn’t like what you brought to the table.
Focus your talents and energies on the ones that do care and appreciate what you do.
I’d love to hear what YOU do to manage negativity online- or, if you plan to implement these best practices I’ve shared- just post a comment below and start the conversation!