What if Someone Says Something Bad About Me Online?

One of the biggest fears some people have about getting involved in social media is the fact that someone could say something bad about you or your company. Why would we want to give people a forum to come and say bad things? Direct sales is often plagued with detractors. Sometimes it’s because someone was not successful (direct sales is not for everyone.) Sometimes someone got connected with an unethical person. It happens.

And when these things happen, sometimes people will seek out representatives of the company in question with the intention of telling the world that the company is a scam.

So what do you do if someone comes onto your Facebook Page, and for all the world to see starts complaining about you or your company? Here are some tips:

  1. Ask yourself if the complaint is a result of legitimate experience, a lack of information, or if the person who commented simply is there to make trouble (we call this type of person a “troll.”)
  2. If the comment is a legitimate concern (whether accurate or not), simply respond with your side. You see, there are other people who also think whatever this person said. It’s out there. Isn’t it better to have your calm, measured response out there as well, to address the concern?
  3. If the commenter is not satisfied, or keeps trying to make the same point, offer to take the discussion offline. If it becomes repetitive, let them know that the discussion is now closed but you’ll be happy to talk offline, and provide your contact information.
  4. If the comment is abusive, or uses inflammatory language, this type of comment can be deleted. If this continues, ban the user from your page (but realize that they may take the conversation elsewhere, where it’s harder for you to respond.)

In the emotion of the minute, it’s easy to get defensive and want to fire back when people say mean things about our beloved companies. But cool heads and measured responses are what prevail. Keep the conversation on topic, avoid getting into long, drawn-out disagreements, and take things offline when possible.

And only delete as a last resort. Transparency is key, and you can be assured that if you do delete, that person will go around posting that same comment elsewhere on the web, telling people you deleted it on your Page. It makes you look like you’re trying to hide something. Better to simply share your side of the story.

How do you deal with negative comments when they appear online? Would love to read your thoughts in the comments.

2 Responses to What if Someone Says Something Bad About Me Online?
  1. Frithjof
    February 9, 2012 | 6:39 pm

    Thank you for your suggestions – As an experienced Service provider I see them as “Common” sense but I also see every day how people are insecure about being criticized.
    Many even rather stay away from using Social Media Tools because they could actually see if people have a problem with their product, service or customer service.
    A great starting point for my presentation on Reputation Management

  2. Donna Lehman
    June 6, 2011 | 9:32 am

    Very well – and calmly – stated. I can see your PR experience shining through. Especially appreciate your reminder that transparency and honesty can win over many disgruntled detractors, if you sincerely address their issue.

    Happy to pass this post along to my associates and clients. (Reminds them that it’s not just me nagging them.)
    Donna Lehman recently posted..MarketUP Home

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