The rapid growth in social media and the ability for users to post content to the web has grown exponentially in the last few years to the point where roughly 40% of the population are now active on Facebook.  For any business, this presents a massive risk.  Negative content appearing on the search results for your brand can have a detrimental impact on user trust, and lead to a drop in sales.  Additionally, Google appear to have started to take user negative sentiment into account when determining search inclusion.

According to the New York Times, in the case of Decormyeyes, the company was unrepentant in their response to negative feedback, which was apparently largely justified, and even welcomed it by virtue of the fact that the links to their website from negative reviews were helping to sustain their search engine rankings.

Negative reviews can hurt the perception of a business, but now, with linguistic filtering, Google are able to strip away value from links included within negative content, and potentially penalise websites based on such content.

So, why not just pretend to be a satisfied customer, and post loads of positive reviews?

Well, for a start it would breach the current CAP Code for marketing communications on line and get you into trouble with the ASA – if you’re in the UK.  But it will also be pretty apparent that the reviews are cynically produced, and will ultimately not deliver any real gains.  It’s also not really dealing with the problem effectively.

Worthwhile engagement

There are 2 ways to handle any comments about you:

  • Respond to them
  • Ignore them

The main reason why you would want to ignore a  comment is that it can sometimes be better to not say anything.  If a person has tweeted something that is insanely angry about you, responding in any way at all can simply add fuel to the fire.  Also note that when you’re using a something like Twitter to respond to a comment, it can be dangerous, as your comment will show up in the feed, and this can direct people back to the orginator.

Some times, there is limited risk of a piece of negative information getting into the mainstream – if someone has a very small website in which they have published a single post about poor service, it might never become a threat unless you actually draw attention to it, and give the poster an opportunity to gain some more publicity.

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