1. For an organization – What about asking the commenter what’s wrong and offering to help fix it? Won;t work with psychos but will definitely present a moderate image to the rest of the silent watchers. And for the genuinely distressed, opportunity to fix what you screwed up.

    1. HI Ashish,
      We often take into social networks our value system. We are being reasonable, the upset party is not. 😛

      If you were an airline and some girls said they had been refused service because they were blonde, you would of course investigate. Find out what was wrong and plan to fix it. But when you find out the true story, what do you do? ignore the fracas online? (now going to traditional media who love a good story like that?), Confess to something that didn’t happen, and refund them their money just to shut them up? Would that work? Would you use humour and add “blondes welcome here” to your website? Would you fight back with a YouTube video telling the “real story”? Get the lawyers in?

      Make a decision and do it fast, because the views and favourites of the girls’ articles are increasing by the thousands per second.

      By the way, if you ignore the girls, or reward them with a refund, what does that do for staff morale?

      We have choices in our communications and “The customer is always right” is not engagement. It’s patronizing and the fans on a facebook page or the members of a forum wont thank the company for pandering to overly vocal critics.
      Your mileage may vary 🙂

      PS What would YOU do in the airline case?

  2. If you dare to place yourself out in the open, and you must if you dare to succeed, then negative comments are simply a right of passage. It’s how you deal with them that can separate you from the chafe. Respond instead of react and most importantly, be honest. People will listen.

  3. I’ve used all of these approaches in the past (with the exception of lawyering up) with a high degree of success. A lot of it does depend on the general tone of the community you’re speaking to. Whirlpool on one hand (in my experience) tends to respond well to the “Stand up and fight” angle if you’re clearly in the right, and not well at all to “confess and beg all forgiveness” unless you’ve clearly stuffed up.

    Long story short, there’s certainly not a “one size fits all” approach for responses, and successfully deciding which approach to use only comes with experience. I’m fortunate to have a small team of people who are long time veterans of various online message boards and have acquired the ability to tell the difference between obvious trolling and genuine concern.

    Great read. Thanks!

  4. Thank you for sharing.
    It is always a delight to feel what I believe – that
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  5. Great read. Love the 8 ways to deal with negative comments. I get you have to look at the situation and use one of the 8 ways to see which is the most appropriate for that particular comment.

  6. Brilliant piece, Laurel; so helpful. That graphic is outstanding. Many thanks for the learning. Thanks also to @StevieHamilton for the heads up; what a find! Best regards, P. 🙂

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  25. I have never met Laurel. I only know her on/from Twitter. I’m yet to read anything Laurel writes about Social Media which doesn’t make sense, or shouldn’t be studied by anyone (make that everyone) using Social Media networks.

    I’m (over) familiar with using Social Media as a ‘recreational’ tool. That (my former) approach is (and was) fraught with danger (as I found out the hard way).
    Using Social Media as a professional (or business) tool (or as a way to connect with old/former friends) is beneficial and profitable (and not just in an economic sense, but in a ‘health of mind’ sense).
    I have never found criticism for its own sake to be beneficial to anyone (neither the person dishing it out, nor the person on the receiving end). But unwarranted criticism is a part of life. It’s how we deal with it that will make or break us.
    Some of us didn’t have parents who were very good role models (or mentors). My question would be, ‘What’s stopping anyone (in this net age) from finding a good mentor?’
    Outside of pursuing my personal goals, I have two aims in life. 1 To introduce as many people into Social Media as I can to the Social Media wisdom of Laurel Papworth. 2. To find her a chauffeur (Laurel’s not a very good driver, and Laurel could utilise her time better if she wasn’t driving).

  26. Bravo!!!!! Great article. I really enjoyed it. Thank you! @Boop28Kim

  27. In the social media world bad press cannot ultimately be considered good press. The digital foot print will remain regardless; I agree with this article that either ignore or positively engage the viewer. This job should be executed by customer service and/or PR professionals within the company.

  28. #8 is my favorite, if you are a douchebag, just own up to it, online or otherwise. 😉 This honestly works for a lot of people I know, online and in real life. Haha. Seriously though, all are useful ways of managing reputations online. It’s good to have a list like this handy to be able to choose ones’s approach wisely.

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  30. Love the response from South West. with more and more people taking to social media to voice a complaint or post a concern, the 8 different ways to deal with a negative comment is a great reference for someone who hasn’t come up with their own plan.

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