User-generated content: don’t delete your negative reviews
Following my interview with Chris Boggs, I realized that an important tangent eventually got paraphrased and edited to fit in a neat little editorial package. The concept of user generated content isn’t new, you have user generated content everywhere you look: forums, blogs, social media platforms, ecommerce sites, review sites, YouTube, etc. It’s been a long-lived belief that any UGC, whether it’s flattering or not, should be predominantly positive, and that’s just not true. Negative feedback is perhaps the single most underrated opportunity for reputation management the social web has to offer, so don’t delete your negative reviews.
Publishing negative reviews opens the door for several opportunities for online marketing; don’t delete negative reviews or you might miss out on these potential opportunities:
- Establish a free focus group of die hard advocates of your brand:
Own the forum for honest-to-goodness, candid, open discussion of your products and services. There’s nothing worse than not knowing where negative conversations take place, or worse still, not having access to take control and represent your brand. If you don’t host the conversation, someone else will. Example, if you’re an electronics manufacturer, it just makes sense to participate in the conversation on review sites, but what if you took a page out of Microsoft 360′s or Sony PS3′s strategy book and established fan forums instead?
- Satisfy those visitors that look beyond glowing reviews:
Believe it or not, there are people out there that totally ignore all your glowing reviews. No product or service is without it’s flaws, and that type of information is what a lot of people rely on to compare their options. Beyond hosting the conversation, as outlined in the previous bullet, make sure that you include negative reviews of actual complains, and things beyond your control. Example, whenever I plan a vacation, I look beyond light and fluffy, glowing, potentially planted positive reviews, and go right to the dirt, then make my determination of whether the reviewer is being honest, or just a whiner.
- Responding to problems can turn negatives into positives:
Never, ever, let any negative comments go unanswered, especially on your own site. You’ll probably notice the next time you plan a vacation that travel sites are now doing a much better job of encouraging representatives from partner hotels and tour operators to reply to customers that aren’t satisfied with their booking. Computer reseller Newegg also does a fantastic job of getting manufacturers involved in addressing negative customer reviews. In the eyes of consumers, this kind of attention to customer service goes a long way to establish credibility and trust.
Of course, there may be many more reasons, but these are by far the most important opportunities that many online marketers can easily incorporate into their online strategy.