What to do when your organisation is criticised online

SEEK Social Media Manager, Holly Stewart, offers some advice on responding to any negative online comments.

The internet gives everyone a voice and while many organisations jump at the opportunity to use this channel as part of its communication mix, embracing it as a two-way communication tool can be rather daunting. However, by adopting an attitude of ‘every online conversation is an opportunity’, it becomes less intimidating and more exciting as you realise its potential.

Where other media is a one-sided or hidden conversation, the internet provides the unique ability to interact with your staff, stakeholders, customers and potential customers. It is important to remember that each conversation can often be viewed by many, not just the individual you are interacting with. Consider this when crafting your response. Use it as an opportunity to reply to the comment but also communicate any relevant positives about the organisation; put your best foot forward.

When direct criticism is received, ensure that honesty and empathy form the basis of your reply. Show that you care about the opinions shared, acknowledge any mistakes made by the organisation and deliver this in a positive way. While it can sometimes be hard, remain unemotional and ensure that your response focuses on fact not opinion.

3 tips for responding to negative comments

1. See every review as an opportunity

While the reality is that you’ll receive both positive and negative reviews, every review is an opportunity to promote the great things about your organisation and why people would want to work for you. Ensure that you respond to all reviews, even the negative ones, in a timely manner to alleviate any concerns that an employee’s review is being ignored or swept under the carpet.

2. Project positivity

Celebrate all the great things people say about working for your company and thank them for their contribution. For those reviews who are negative, remember the criticism isn’t directed at you. It’s a genuine review of the company and someone’s personal experience. Consider this when replying and make sure you stay positive in your responses to negativity. Be better, not bitter, and focus on the issue not the reviewer.

3. Give the whole truth

Like any space in which your brand exists, your online profile should be transparent, true and authentic. Employees want an honest response from employers because it can affect their career. This is the perfect platform to demonstrate to past, current and potential employees what you’re doing to improve their working lives.
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About the author

Holly Stewart


Social Media Manager

Holly Stewart heads up the social media team for SEEK. Having worked within the social media space for over six years, Holly has extensive experience in managing the online reputation for some of Australia’s leading brands, including 7-Eleven,...

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