How should your company handle negative blog comments?

by Mack Collier

Originally posted on Marketing Profs Daily Fix blog

A few days ago I got a concerned Direct Message on Twitter from a friend of mine. Her company had been the benefactor of a very positive article on a Washington Post blog. That’s good. Unfortunately, commenters were attacking the business, based on the information contained in the article, which implied that the company didn’t provide health insurance to its workers. As many companies would be in this situation, this person was very upset and unsure of what to do next.

My advice to her is the same I will give to you. If you see negative comments on a blog/site, especially those based on inaccurate information, you need to address those comments. In this case, the negative comments seemed to be originating from the article’s implication that this company did not provide health insurance to its employees.

Prior to my friend Allison commenting, the post had 6 comments, all of which were either critical, or downright negative toward Hardwood Artisians. Allison did exactly what you should do if your company is coming under fire. She kept her cool, politely thanked the commenters for their feedback, and set the record straight about how the company handled providing health insurance to its employees. And she also did something else that’s very important; she invited commenters to continue to leave her feedback.

Hi, I’m the Director of Marketing for Hardwood Artisans.

Thanks to all the commenters for all the interest in Hardwood Artisans. I do have one quick correction, no fault of Tom’s. We’ve had health insurance available through the company since August of 2007. Employees can elect to take advantage of the company plan, but some have their own plans or get insurance through their spouses. Personally, I have the company plan.

If anyone would like more information or has more feedback, feel free to email me at alison@hardwoodartisans.com or post here. I’m always happy to answer questions.

Alison Heath

When Allison left that comment, the entire tone of the conversation changed. Prior to Allison’s comment, 6 comments were left to the post about Hardwood Artisians, all of them were negative. After Allison’s comment, 11 other people commented, and ten of them were positive. Most even came to the defense of HA, and one commenter added: “Still, if nothing else, my hat is off to Alison for being willing to step into the lion’s den to answer questions”

As I told Allison, as soon as she joined the conversation and encouraged interaction, the tone of the dialogue changed from people throwing negative comments AT the company, to the commenters talking WITH Allison. And then Allison later blogged about the article on HA’s own blog.

What can you learn from how Allison handled this situation?

1 – If someone is leaving negative comments about your company, respond.

2 – Be thankful and polite. Nothing escalates a negative comment into a full-bore flamewar faster than an ‘Oh yeah?!?’ reply from the company.

3 – If commenters are jumping to the wrong conclusion about your company, kindly correct them with the proper information.

4 – Thank them for their feedback, and encourage them to provide more. Leave your email address so they can contact you off the blog, if they choose.

If you are thankful and respectful toward commenters, even those that are attacking your company, the end result will almost always be a positive experience. Allison’s experience isn’t the exception, it’s the norm.

Alex January 17, 2011 at 10:30 am

Negative comments make people nervous. Perhaps you care less when someone tells you that they hated the post you wrote on your personal blog about your favorite pet , But a few negative comments are not going to be the undoing of your company, and in fact, can be a strong opportunity to prove yourself.
I’m so glad that my experience is helping others learn its really nice post so thanks for sharing nice post

kerry ireland February 13, 2012 at 12:43 am

Thank you so much for posting this information.
Negative posts can be properly addressed to correct misconceptions of viewers, in a polite way. This will resolve the issues

Brandi Pearl Thompson with Chattanooga Real Estate May 20, 2012 at 9:29 pm

Negative comments can destroy a business. I have known many people who have went out of business due to negative comments. I will take these points in mind as I work with my clients.

Frances Johns June 7, 2012 at 8:02 pm

Hello!

My name is Frances Johns and I am getting in touch with you to let you know that your content has been featured on the RankPop.com blog! I’ve included the URL of the post at the end of this message, please stop by and let me know what you think. If you’re happy with the way your content is featured you don’t need to take any action; if you’d like something changed please get in touch with me personally, I’m always happy to help!

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Sally - NuSocial July 17, 2013 at 7:50 am

Some people will always react well to responses to negative comments, but then there are those that will ALWAYS make things worse. Guess you have to have a plan and stick with it.

Usually being polite works and if a customer is being a pain at least you’re not impacting yourself negativity.

Elspeth December 3, 2013 at 2:22 pm

Isn’t it crazy how easy this is? It’s actually hilarious to use a very polite, resolution-minded voice against poorly researched skeptics. “Thank you for your feedback. Would you please PM me so we can arrange a more detailed discussion? I’d like to resolve your concerns.”

Mack Collier December 3, 2013 at 2:33 pm

Hi Elspeth! Yes and that also helps you separate the trolls from the actual customers that need help as the trolls typically won’t bother if the exchange isn’t out in the open where they can draw attention to themselves.

Just being compassionate and polite goes a long way!

Ashlee February 21, 2014 at 11:43 pm

I like the the cool minded approach. It might help some visitors see a negative comment for the rant they so often are.

Patrick Boneville March 24, 2014 at 12:39 pm

This is great info Mack! I think that you should add that any fresh content added to a negative blog about your company might give it a temporary rise in the search results though. I think after time though, it will get less ‘fresh content’ because people will not be inclined to leave even MORE negative feedback.

It’s so weird how everyone is drawn to NEGATIVE publicity more than POSITIVE. It’s sort of like the trash mags at the grocery store I suppose.

Great advice here. Definitely.

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