Be transparent, have a plan: how to protect your business’ reputation on social

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We all know that most businesses, no matter the size, use social to communicate directly with their target audience. This is good, but how do these businesses respond when they receive negative feedback or comments about their brand or business via the social web? How do they deal with these negative comments that are public so that it doesn’t affect their business and reputation? Do you know what online reputation management is?

If you are already using Twitter for business you will know that a negative story can spread on this platform and turn into a snow ball in minutes. It can take 140 characters or less to destroy your reputation on the social web. How do you counter this? How are you going to respond to any negative comments and feedback? Find below a couple of tips that can help you deal with this and how you can take action with your brand when this happens to you.

Communication plan
The first step into dealing with positive or negative comments online about your brand is to have a communication plan in place. Choose how you are going to respond to these comments based on the nature of the comment and use this throughout your digital marketing plan.

If you have a personal or a business blog, how do you have the comments setup on the blog? Are you moderating the comments before they are published or can anyone leave a comment without any approval? On all my blogs that I own (there are many), I enable the option of moderating the comments first. This doesn’t mean you should delete the negative ones when they come through, it just gives you enough time so that you can respond.

Everyone should monitor what is begin talked about them online on a regular basis. This goes for personal and brand mentions on all the popular social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, and industry related blogs. There are many tools available that you can use for monitoring such as Twitter Search, Google Alerts, and Brandseye.

Be transparent
With anything you do online, always be transparent and honest. I know that negative comments might sometimes be very harsh, but remember that when you respond with a positive one and fixing the problems if there actually was one, the outcome will be positive. Never take criticism personally because this can turn a bad situation into an even worse one. Take your time and understand the situation of the person leaving the comment and if you have a valid excuse, provide an apology and ensure that you have fixed the problem. It’s important to make sure that your response is professional and friendly.

Most of the time positive comments will outweigh the number of negative comments about your company and brand. Publicise good reviews you receive and make use of these to build your brand. For all the positive comments you receive, encourage your customers to post these on your blog, Twitter or Facebook Page where they are public. Encouraging positive comments will ensure that the balance of positive and negative comments are maintained.

I know it’s easier to delete a negative comment than to respond to it, but at the end of the day, this can cause you more harm in the long run.

Anton Koekemoer


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