If your blog accepts comments, then you have four alternatives when you receive a negative comment on your blog....

One of the biggest concerns companies have over starting a blog is how to deal with negative comments. If your blog accepts comments, then you have four alternatives when you receive a negative comment to your blog.
1. Ignore them/delete them. This usually isn't the best course of action. If you consistently ignore negative comments on your company's blog, that will likely generate more as your community begins to question whether or not you actually want to interact with them. If you delete them, that will make matters worse, because the bloggers whose comments you deleted will then go back to their blog and post about how you are censoring comments to your company's blog.
Granted, if a particular commenter or two are purposely attacking your company through comments, you may have to step in and censor their comments, but this should always be a last resort.
2. Antagonize them. This can also happen if you ignore/delete comments. Let's be clear: This is probably the worst thing you can do.
If someone leaves a purposely antagonizing comment, do NOT reply in kind. Your community won't remember the guy that slammed your company, they will remember how you shot your mouth off at the guy that left a comment on your blog. As with ignoring comments, this will draw even more fire from your community.
3. Attempt to pacify them (or 'shut them up'). This might include giving the commenter an incentive such as a coupon/discount to 'make up' for the complaint they have raised.
True, this might stop the negative comments, but really doesn't help your company, since you are simply trying to make the problem go away.
4. Address them. This is always the best course of action. You can't please all your customers all the time, but you CAN listen to them.
Let them speak their peace, and see if they are trying to bring to your attention problems in your business processes that can be addressed and corrected. If so, a negative comment becomes a powerful opportunity for your company to not only improve its processes, but likely convert a complainer into an evangelist for your company.
In the end, your community of blog readers want to know that you respect them enough to give them a sense of input in the direction of your blog, and ultimately, your company. If you have started a blog to simply serve as a sales brochure, they will sniff this out a mile away, and rightly complain early and often on your blog about this.
But if you are interested in using your blog as a communication tool with your community, as a tool to better understand them, and help them better understand your company, then they will see this, and you'll convert passive visitors into active and empowered marketers for your company.

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Ignore 'em or Embrace 'em? How to Handle Negative Blog Comments

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image of Mack Collier

Mack Collier is a social-media strategist based in Alabama. He helps companies build programs and initiatives that let them better connect with their customers and advocates. His podcast, The Fan-Damn-Tastic Marketing Show, discusses ways that brands can turn customers into fans. His first book, Think Like a Rock Star: How to Create Social Media and Marketing Strategies That Turn Customers Into Fans, was published in April 2013 by McGraw-Hill.

Twitter: @MackCollier

LinkedIn: Mack Collier