With the increasing prevalence of digital platforms in our lives, it’s understandable (basically essential) that businesses engage with consumers on these platforms as well. Unfortunately, a side-effect of our digitised lives is that it becomes very easy for negative comments to be posted and shared, potentially demolishing any positive goodwill that your brand has. Brand reputation management is not a new concept, but it is more critical now than ever before.
There have been numerous examples of bad reputation management in recent years, but there are a few basics DONTs that so many businesses tend to forget.
- Don’t Be Angry
The worst thing you can do is respond to negative sentiment with negative behaviour. The internet can be like a raging fire at times, and calm, sensible responses are like dousing the flames with water, cooling everyone down and allowing negative sentiment to slowly disappear.
If you’re enraged by someone’s negative statements and you respond to that negativity with more negativity, that’s like throwing petrol on the flames: you’ll make the fire bigger and you’ll probably spread the fire to more places. Don’t make the fire any bigger than it needs to be.
- Accept Blame
Look, none of us are perfect, right? I would imagine that most people have done something in the past to upset someone else. The internet is like a megaphone for that upset person to let other people know how they feel.
Something that you shouldn’t do is reject their feelings. People are allowed to be upset, and most of the time there is something entirely reasonable to drive that feeling. Acknowledge your failing (no matter how trivial it may seem), and offer a solution. You’ll end up with a much better situation because of it.
- Pick Your Battles
If you’re new to the internet, you might not be familiar with trolls: people who are simply trying to get under your skin and get to annoyed and frustrated. The lack of physical presence on the internet means that these people just want to see you get upset without fear of recrimination. Sometimes, bad online sentiment can be driven by trolls looking to potentially embarrass your brand.
Work hard to recognise who is legitimately upset and who is just trying to catch you off guard. Trolls are often illogical and can deter other users from engaging in their behaviour. Take passive approaches to dealing with trolls, like removing comments or banning users; don’t engage publically.
Balancing Sentiment Online is Challenging
As a business operating both in the real world and online, it’s important to maintain some perspective. Web 2.0 is all about users and businesses being on the same page when it comes to their ability to create content and interact. Sometimes, big companies can forget their place online and can act in ways that are detrimental to their success. Brand reputation management is all about providing guidance through this difficult area of your business.