MANAGING NEGATIVE COMMENTS ONLINE

It is critically important to closely monitor your online activity 24/7, 365 days a year. Here’s why.

Facebook and Instagram are not a 9-5 thing. People using social media channels may live or travel to all time zones and they go online several times, every day. Some people actually check their key platforms all day long. In fact, I would argue that marketing your practice in the digital space has evolved to have increased the need for careful monitoring and responding in real time.

For starters, set alerts so you don’t miss any messages posted on Facebook, comments on blog posts, inquiries via Twitter, less than ideal remarks on RealSelf, etc. Set Google and Yahoo alerts in your own name, practice name, and any potential misspelled versions of your brand names too. Extreme vigilance is required on these channels so you can be ready and able to jump on anything vital or unpleasant quickly and resolve it, when possible.

You may attempt to challenge any negative posts that were not posted by an actual patient, but this is a tricky process. If you are the victim of a fake review or bogus anonymous comment, and this happens all too often today, review the terms of use of the platform this appears on and voice your complaint to the site directly. This may or may not illicit a response, but the options open to you are limited. If the post is in violation of the site or platform’s stated rules, you may have luck getting it taken down. Avoid taking legal action which can escalate the problem and run up legal fees.

Where possible, try to take any potentially divisive conversations offline and address them head on. On Facebook at least, you can delete any unseemly comments or posts, ban the user from posting again, and report it as spam or inappropriate content. The same is true on Instagram, where you can delete someone else’s comments on your own posts. On Twitter, however, you may be better off ignoring some posts you would prefer never happened. You cannot delete a tweet that did not originate from your own account.

Blog posts are very often originated from bots and spammers. To monitor your blog, use the setting in WordPress that allows you to approve any comments before they go live. This way you can easily delete any promotional comments that include a URL – such as directing readers to a discount Canadian pharmacy or a site for erectile dysfunction remedies before they ever see the light of day. If you see URLs with the domain name residing on .ru (as in Russia) you can usually just assume it is spam.

We need to accept the fact that in the online universe, you can never have complete control over content. Similarly, even if a comment is deleted, it may not really be gone. If someone took a screen shot, shared, retweeted or regrammed it, it can live on forever. The goal is to minimize exposure and nip it in the bud before it gets seen by more users.

Have a query about your marketing campaign? Need help taking your social media up a notch? Reach out Anne@wendylewisco.com

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