How do successful organizations streamline their social management? Can one tool really do it all? We'll answer these questions and more on the next #SMTlive webinar. Register now!

Turn Negative Online Comments into Business Opportunities

Have you heard the phrase: “Any publicity is good publicity” before?

It’s commonly used in the entertainment industry to refer to actors who are in the press because of something bad they have done. While not necessarily how the actor may wish to be represented, being in the press means exposure. Exposure translates to opportunities which translate to money.

In the hand of a good publicist, most public figures can take bad press and can turn it into something useful for their careers.

If only we all had such a publicist on our payroll…

The reality is that most business owners are afraid to get online because of exposure to “bad” publicity. They fear a disgruntled former employee bad mouthing them publicly or an unhappy customer coming to complain about their service. They fear that such negative reactions will drive potential business away.

I say take a chapter from the rich and the famous and turn “any publicity into good publicity”. It’s easier than you think. Take these steps to turn a potentially negative response into something positive for your business:

  • Do not get defensive. Whomever is complaining is doing it out of emotion. By allowing yourself to become swept into those emotions, you will quickly drown.
  • Invite engagement. Allow the person to share their negative experience and even ask them for specifics. You may find that by doing so you can gain a better understand of the problem and potentially find a solution that will fix the issue all together.
  • Know your limits. There are just some situations where you just aren’t able to help someone or something, like having to let go of someone. Be willing to accept and even admit to those limits. It’s a powerful testament to your potential customers if you’re willing to share your weaknesses along with your strengths.
  • Take it offline. If you find even after your best efforts that you can’t seem to resolve the issue through discussions online, invite this person to talk to you in person or through some other more personal means of communication. Often times it is easier for people to be angry and upset through media like the Internet, but they can be more reasonable if they realize it’s a real person they are dealing with.

    While it’s never a desired form of input, you can easily turn even the most negative publicity into something positive for your company and business.

    So don’t let the fear of “bad” comments turn you away from the amazing opportunities online marketing has to offer.

    Join The Conversation

    • Mar 4 Posted 3 years ago cmv925

      Excellent article.

      I was just telling a restaurant owner to respond to the bad review. I informed the owner that silence is consent and you can expect loss revenue for not taking action. Quick solution that I came up with was to create a two customer surveys; one to be filled while for service and online one using survey monkey. I then took the good ones and spread across the citation sites. Immediate results.

    • whatleyc's picture
      Mar 2 Posted 3 years ago whatleyc

      I completely agree with you Donna. In this technology-heavy world, it's nice to be treated as a real person.  Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

    • Mar 1 Posted 3 years ago donnamoritz

      Great article Caroline! Love your tips - especially to "invite engagement".  At the very least, when it comes to complaints, I try to remember to treat the person online as you would if they were standing right in front of you in the reception area of your business. That often helps a lot too. Thanks for sharing! 

    Upcoming Webinars

    • August 19, 2015
      Hear from Chris Kerns, Author of Trendology, about the latest findings from the Spredfast Research team and their series, The Smart Social Repor...
    • July 14, 2015
      Today's customer is being pulled in many different directions at once, with buying opportunities at every turn. How can you break through the no...


    • May 27, 2015
      Word-of-mouth marketing has always been a powerful driver of consumer behavior. Every experienced marketer knows that customers are mo...
    • May 20, 2015
      In today's marketplace, social media is an integral component for any growing business. But in order for your business to see return on its...