Managing Negative Online Reviews: When to Engage and When to Ignore

Managing Negative Reviews

We are getting great info at PubCon this week! Heard another great speaker, Tony Wright (CEO of WrightIMC), present information about how to effectively, manage negative reviews manage negative reviews during the “Reputation Management: Monitoring your Brands Online” panel discussion yesterday. Main things we took away from Tony are below.

When monitoring your online reputation, it is important to be aware that there are no tools out there to keep track of your reviews in Google; monitoring what’s being said about you must be done by hand.

If you discover negative reviews and find that your reputation is under attack, there are several things to keep in mind:

Consider the Venue
Look at where the attack is coming from. If the venue is small and doesn’t have a lot of reach, it could do you more harm than good to engage in conversation with them. By opening up the dialogue, you could be giving credibility to an insignificant unknown. But if the negative review is coming from a large, reputable site that is seen by your target audience, you should consider carefully engaging in the conversation as part of your online reputation management strategy.
Consider the Tone
Carefully weigh how significant and severe your negative reviews are. If someone is unhappy about an insignificant or unreasonable matter, it may not be worth your time to address. But if someone is making serious allegations against you, it may be wise to open up the conversation.
Consider the Influence
Examine the influence of the person posting negative reviews about you. Is their review just a one-time shot against your company or are they following up with other posts? Has their review had a viral effect? Are they considered an authority in your industry? Depending on the poster’s influence, you may or may not want to respond to their negative reviews.

With this information in mind, you need to determine if, when and how to respond. Of course, this depends on the resources you have available. Because if you start combating the negative conversation about your company, brand or service, you need to be able to commit for the long term. You need active, timely and regular communication—or you will not succeed.

Of course, the main idea is to take a proactive approach to online reputation management by gaining traction in the search engines across a variety of venues and platforms. If the top ten listings in the SERPs are all sites that you own, have control over or have influence over, those negative reviews will be less visible as they appear further down in the SERPs.

Additionally, since unhappy customers are much more likely to complain online, your goal should be to get happy, well-satisfied customers to talk about you online. A good Internet marketing firm should be able to get your happy customers talking about you and posting positive reviews about you across a broad spectrum of online vehicles. Contact to learn more.

11 Responses to “Managing Negative Online Reviews: When to Engage and When to Ignore”

    • Clarissa

      James – You should read the online reputation management article! It provides lots of valuable information and a thorough explanation of how online reputation management works.

  1. Clarissa

    This is really good advice, but what if the negative reviewer continues to damage my online reputation even after I have started the conversation with the person? How can I handle the situation.

    • Clarissa

      It is, but what if the reputation damager is persistent? Is there somewhere to turn if ignoring and/or confronting doesn’t work?

  2. Andrew

    Great pointers here! You can actually use negative reviews to elevate your online reputation. Brilliant!!

  3. Casey Shepperd

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