A new bill (S6779), introduced by New York Senator Thomas F. O’Mara, is trying to take away the anonymity of posting content online. The bill would require the removal of all anonymous post if the individual who posted the information does not provide their legal name, IP address and home address.

The bill was created in hopes of decreasing online bullying, but in reality it is likely that the bill will not pass based on the excessive amount of information required from U.S. citizens. It’s a clear infringement of privacy but it does shed light on the issue of accepting comments and questions online in a business setting.

Responding to negative comments and anonymous post can position your brand for growth.

Engagement is a two-way street and unfortunately it is for better and for worse. Negative comments on your social media networks and business website may come from disgruntled customers or ex-employees. As the owner or decision maker at your business it is important to provide a response to comments made on your blog, especially false accusations. It is inappropriate to ignore negative comments in hopes of making them go away. It is also inappropriate to erase negative comments, unless they are extremely vulgar and inappropriate for your audience.

The same way you hope that positive comments about your business and the increased engagement amongst your fans will spread is the same hope others have about negative comments they make on your website and social communities. The best way to decrease the impact of negative comments is to answer them and serve your customers.

  • If a customer makes a complaint about service at your place of business, apologize for what happened and make amends by offering a discount or some form of bonus.
  • If a consumer or ex-employee is spreading false and damaging information about the business, correct them and reaffirm policies and  mission statements that make your business unique and of high standards.
  • Use negative comments to redirect attention to your brand. Create a reputation of being honest, trustworthy and responsive.

Don’t be afraid of taking on the negative. In some cases, the fact that fans are passionate enough about your brand to be upset is somewhat a plus. If handled correctly it will open up opportunities for you to share the positive aspects of your business. Contact JASE if you ever have concerns about how to respond to negative comments on your blog, website, and social media pages.

New York Senateimage credit: by stgermh on flickr

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