Online reputation management (ORM) is not a nice to have anymore, but a must have because it can notify you of any important updates regarding your brand and business. ORM is mostly used to catch all the negative sentiment about your brand online, but it can also be used to find hidden opportunities in building your digital footprint.

If you have an ORM process in place and you are currently listening (monitoring) and someone posts a negative comment about you online, how do you handle this? In a nutshell; honest, helpful, transparent, and diplomatically. There isn’t a fact book available on how you should respond and in which manner, but here’s a couple of tips to help you with this.

Responding to negative comments

Research the situation: Don’t just jump in and start commenting away. Take a bit of time and research the situation. By starting to comment without a clue what the actual issue is you can maybe make the situation worse.

Avoid making the situation worse: Don’t respond back with a negative comment as it can also worsen the situation. Don’t attack the person who left the comment and inflame the comment. Never bully or intimidate either. Be open about the comment and respond with a clear head.

Be helpful: Show respect and be helpful in your response. Doing it this way can earn you respect in return. A negative comment should be seen as information on what you should change within your business or attitude. Find ways on resolving the issue and try to convert the person into a brand advocate.

Don’t start argumenting: Always try to use objective information to clarify your say. Link to information sources.

Follow the process through: If you are promising something in your response, follow it through.

The key with online reputation management is to listen and respond in a helpful manner.