Responding to online criticism – Reputation Management Part 1

Regardless of whether you are a for-profit business, a non-profit organization, an entrepreneur, or a published author, there will come a time when you are confronted with online criticism, poor reviews, April Fool’s Day jokes, or hoaxes from websites, bloggers, review sites, or forum postings.  The more successful you are, the more this inevitability grows.  Don’t believe me?  Just ask McDonald’s, which recently had to deal with the “Seriously McDonald’s” photo hoax, that suggested they were discriminating against African Americans.

Even our Armed Forces are not immune. In fact, the Air Force released a “Rules of Engagement” flow chart that can serve for “best practices” for dealing with online criticism and managing one’s brand reputation online. The Air Force Response Assessment recommends that once you identify online criticism, next you must identify the category in which the “critic” most closely falls from among these choices:

  • “Trolls”
  • “Ragers”
  • “Misguided Individuals”
  • “Unhappy Customers”

Identifying the appropriate category that describes the website owner, blogger, reviewer, or forum poster will help you arrive upon the most appropriate response.  Next time we will discuss the Internet Troll and what you should do if a “Troll” is criticizing you, your business, or your book online.