According to The Telegraph, more than half of British companies have fallen victim to malicious reviews, criticism and spam online. With the ever-rising influence of Social Media for business, trolls and malevolent reviewers now have the power and ability to take down large corporations through the simple use of unfair, or fake, words and accounts posted in full view for the world to see…
Nevertheless, the need to have a competitive online presence has never been stronger. Services and products must be promoted and made available at just three or four touches of our iPhones or Androids.
So how do you protect yourself and most importantly, your business, in this brutal digital arena? As experts in Social Media Marketing and Online Customer Care, we are in a unique position to share proven-to-work ways to deal with negative feedback and take down trolls. Get ready to take notes!
If you receive a bad review or comment, hesitate before you delete or report it. It is important that you actually reply to unhappy customers and are able to differentiate between the two. After all, Social Media is a great (and now commonly used) way to provide a responsive point of contact for customer care when used correctly. Consider your reply carefully, with the utmost professionalism and politeness.
Spam that causes reputational damage is something to be reported immediately. It is defined by ‘any kind of unwanted and unsolicited communication through an online medium’ but can be difficult to spot amongst many customer profiles. Warnings signs are messages, reviews and comments that come from ‘unrealistic’ accounts – i.e. ones that do not have a legit profile picture and tend to only post inflammatory statements and unjust allegations. If you are unsure how to report spam, you can follow these step-by-step guides for the various platforms below:
How to Report spam on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/help/439579999521224
How to Report spam on Instagram: https://help.instagram.com/165828726894770/
How to Report spam on Twitter: https://support.twitter.com/articles/64986
How to Report spam on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/help/linkedin/answer/37822/recognizing-and-reporting-spam-inappropriate-and-offensive-content?lang=en
How to Report spam on YouTube: https://support.google.com/youtube/answer/2802027?hl=en-GB
How to Report spam on Pinterest: https://help.pinterest.com/en/articles/report-something-pinterest#Web
Trolls and other generally hateful people tend to get a weird kick out of spreading rumours that have no truth. Of course, you can report these accounts and comments but you cannot stop things spreading and people talking, especially when things happen as fast as they do online. If someone or several people have been posting inaccuracies, nip it in the bud quickly and counter their fiction with facts. Addressing an issue head-on is always better than shying away from your corporate responsibility to tell the truth.
When you’ve worked hard to get your business where it is today, it can be hard not to take it personally when online trolls, spammers and partial reviewers target you for no reason other than for their own satisfaction. But it is important to understand that you are not alone. It may feel like a direct attack but often you are just one of many under attack. Remember, 50% UK organisations have experienced the same. It may help to speak openly with other business owners and customer care teams to put some perspective on the situation and improve your coping tactics.
Though replying may sometimes be necessary to show you have nothing to hide, it is always best to take the conversation offline as soon as possible. Provide a contact number, email address or simply request that they direct message you to discuss it further. This ensures that further communication is private and able to be resolved peacefully. If they continue to hassle you without contacting you by the method you have politely provided, you should then consider this spam and avoid further interaction with this person on all Social Media platforms.
If you are a large business or organisation, you may receive a vast amount feedback, reviews and complaints. You cannot take yourself offline, so you must find an online process or policy that has the capacity to handle such negativity without it boiling over. This may mean having a Social Media savvy customer care team logging in at their allocated times, like shift workers, or creating a special link to a complaints form to be properly accessed and settled internally. There are various routes to go down and like anything, it is all about determining which is best for you and not deviating from your decision but rather carrying it through.
Organisation is key to the smooth running of any business but when operating online and managing various communications with your customers via Social Media, you need all the gadgets and gismos you can get. Facebook Messenger was one of the first to notice this by allowing you to create colour coded labels and notes that all admins can see. It is a great way to manage and track communication with customers and has proven to increase the response rate of business pages countless times.
The Internet was built for everyone and is used by everyone. Negative feedback and online trolls are a threat but only if you are not well prepared, knowledgeable and mindful of the challenges you face and the techniques you can use to overcome them, unscathed.
We hope that through reading and implementing the above practices you will feel that you are better equipped to so. However, if you have any further questions or would like some expert advice on this subject do not hesitate to get in contact.