“There is no such thing as bad advertisement” – What may have been true in times long gone doesn’t apply to the internet age anymore. Not only does the web grant each single user a much greater coverage and outreach it also never forgets.
Back in the days an unsatisfied customer would have aired her displeasure by telling friends and family about the unpleasant service or the bad quality of a product. Days later the whole issue would have been forgotten for good.
Whenever a company had gotten bad press it surely had to go through tough time and had to manage a lot of backlash, but sooner or later the accusing article would have been lost in the news archives and vanished from the collective memory.
With some luck the company name would even have stuck to some people’s minds and over the time have left a fuzzy somewhat unseizable yet neutral image, which brings us back to the opening statement.
These days a single user can already do some heavy damage to a company’s reputation. A negative review is easily written and may in the worst case start an actual shitstorm when amplified through the echo chambers of social media.
Basically there are two possible scenarios:
A short-term escalation is usually started within social media channels by a negative posting or comment that gets a certain amount of attention. When reverberated by enough other users such a posting can quickly become a self-sustaining shitstorm.
To put an end to such a phenomenon you should always plan ahead and develop a common strategy which is then briefed to all social media personnel.
The precise setup of such a strategy always depends on the accusations brought forward by the community.
Are the accusations justified? Did you, as a company, really do something wrong? Is there anything you could change? Or the accusation actually unjustified and plucked out of thin air or even targeted attacks a competitor?
On the other hand there are scenarios that can deal long term damage to a brand’s reputation. Among these there are negative reviews on popular platform of damaging content on external websites that pops up when doing specific searches for a company’s brand.
While posting and comments on social media lose reach over time, reviews on network sites stay permanently visible. That’s why active community and review management is the key to a good online reputation, no matter if on Google MyBusiness, Yelp or Facebook. That means thanking your customers for positive reviews while also responding to negative ones.
Here as well, you should always ask yourself whether the accusations are justified or not before engaging with users. An answer should always be crafted depending on these findings. In any case it’s good advice to use a de-escalating strategy.