Over the last few weeks, a number of businesses I know have received very negative ‘reviews’ on Facebook from accounts and people that are completely unknown to them. It has become clear that there is a distinct rise in these reputation damaging posts and I wanted to share one way that you can deal effectively with this, should you be unfortunate enough to be on the receiving end of something like this.

The Details.
Most of the time, posts, comments or ‘reviews’ of this nature are posted either right at the end of the working day or over the weekend – giving you very little time to respond. These ‘reviews’ rarely use bad language as they know that Facebook can – and will – delete such content if requested. Instead, they are very general and broad in their approach – commenting on poor service’ or a ‘faulty product’. Occasionally names are mentioned but this is not normally the case.

Your Reaction:
The sole purpose of content such as this is to cause upset, disrupt your business and damage your reputation. It is very upsetting to be on the receiving end of something like this and most peoples’ response is fight (“I don’t know you – what’s your real name” or flight (where you ignore the post entirely.) However, I don’t feel that either response is the best course of action. There is the off-chance that this comment is genuine and they last thing you want to do is make the situation worse.

Your Response:
So what should you do? In my opinion your sole job at that moment is reputation management – protecting yourself now and for any future prospects that view your Facebook page. How you handle this is really important. While it’s safe to assume this ‘review’ is fake, the best thing to do is treat it seriously and as if it were genuine.

So my suggestion is you reply to the comment or ‘review’ with something like the below:

Hi. Thank you for your comments. At [business name] I / we take pride in delivering a first rate and professional service so we take your complaint seriously.

However Facebook is not the forum for me / us to appropriately address your concerns so please could you either email me / us on at [email address] or call me / us on [ONLY GIVE OFFICE NUMBER] during working hours so I / we can work to put things right quickly.

I / We look forward to hearing from you.

The one other thing I would do is wait at least 30 minutes after receiving such content so it comes across as a measured and thoughtful response, rather than just copy-and-pasted. Remember – these things are often time-stamped.

The Result:
So why treat fake content this way and take it seriously? Remember that this post may not be deletable so anyone who reads this six- or twelve-months down the line is not to know if this comment is genuine. Also, it may be just that – genuine.

That way, if it is a real-world comment you have not offended anyone and given them a genuine way of airing their grievances but, equally as important, if is not genuine you have not stoked any fire and the person leaving the comment has nowhere to go. Therefore, anyone reading this further down the line can see how you have handled this situation and your reputation should remain intact.

Should you find yourself in this situation, I hope this helps.

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