Reputation Management 2007-2013: It’s changed, but not that much

Found an article I wrote back in ’07 for Revenews (yes, the Internet existed back then!) about managing comments in blog posts. The concern back then was:

What if someone says something bad about us in our Blog?

Apparently the concern remains, however now you can add Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Yelp, and a host of other sites small and large where people can voice their opinions.

Certainly, you should be concerned if your company is Amy’s Baking Company Bakery & Boutique and you’ve found yourself publicly airing a variety of bad behavior and fueling a mass of online dissing – then using the much overused PR lie: we’ve been hacked! However, meltdowns like that are certainly not the norm – and real or not, it does serve as a good example of what not to do. (It did get them a tremendous mount of gawker publicity and even a reality show!)

While it may take a little more effort to track and manage all of those mentions, the host of information you can glean about the perception of your business leaves you with an amazing opportunity to respond both publicly and through the service or products you provide.

And who doesn’t love a hero? Imagine being the company that turns a negative into a positive.

Here are 5 steps to managing negative comments – regardless of where they appear – that were true back in 2007 and remain true today. (BTW: it’s all about marketing and messaging, not medium!)

  1. What do I say? Be prepared to have answers. It’s customer service we’re talking about here. Let them know that you are considering their comments not just dismissing them. If they are relevant comments, then consider them!
  2. Make me an offer. These people are your customers. Let them know that if they send you contact information, you will send them a coupon.
  3. Everything in moderation. When things get out of control, is that you can moderate comments on blogs and Facebook – not so for other third-party sites. Unfortunately, by not publishing comments you are basically taking away the shear nature of their power: the ability to communicate and engage dialog. Every company should have a comment moderation policy. If you do not immediately publish comments, use that time to consider your response.
  4. If it walks like a duck… It seems that you are getting several comments that are the same in nature. “This product sucks.” While not very helpful in defining why the user doesn’t like it, any additional negative comments are likely to lead you to develop a far superior product and turn those lemons into the most successful lemonade brand out there.
  5. When it becomes unmanageable, get help. Of course, with any new problem comes a solution. Hire a reputation manager who has experience managing the tools and processes to properly answer the comments and provide actionable data – that’s the stuff that will allow you to review the common concerns and fix them.

Think about it: You can allow people (your customers…the bread and butter of your business) continue to bad-mouth you and yell back, or you can learn to listen and respond.

Think Plan C Marketing Tips Let the thinking begin!



More on Reputation Management and related topics in this post

What if someone says something bad about us in our Blog? The original post from 2007 in Revenews.

Good News, Bad News NY Times article on bad publicity turned good.