What Can Be Done About Negative Website Content and Social Media Activity?

Approximately 80% of today’s internet users1 are influenced by reviews or commentary they read online—with just as much (if not more) regard than if the review came from a friend or family member. It matters what people are saying online about you, your business, or your cause.

Unfortunately, if an individual or group becomes angry with you as a person or with an organization with which you’re affiliated, it’s all too common for this kind of negative energy to give birth to demeaning websites, derogatory articles, or heated social media tirades.

It doesn’t even matter whether the people behind these verbal vendettas have any real credibility. Often enough, they don’t. But they still manage to steal away what matters most—attention.

As you can imagine, this is serious. The viral nature of inflammatory content can mar an otherwise reputable, well-intentioned person or organization.

But there is hope. There is much than can be done to mitigate the damage through a common and much-needed practice in online business world called Online Reputation Management (ORM). ORM typically involves a detailed approach at launching the right kind of positive, engaging content strategy. Eventually this can paint a more accurate and compelling picture for your audience, though it does take time, dedication and consistent attention.

It is important to keep in mind that it is rarely a good idea to respond directly to the negative conversations, especially if they are not asking for answers. This can often backfire, causing an unproductive conversation that gathers even more attention—because odds are, the impassioned party has already dug in their heels and are not going to repent of their negative words. They’ll likely just keep spreading their toxic message.

Due to the fact that ORM typically deals with volatile, emotional content creators, a careful, strategic approach is necessary in truly making a widespread difference. The negative content needs to be carefully researched (without giving them too much attention, clicks or traffic) and one can usually find the “holes” in the points they’re making. Then positive, straightforward content can be created and shared that address these issues properly. And eventually, readers will find this helpful, informative content instead of the other.

A long-term strategy for content creation and promotion will gradually help to discredit and displace the negative content. In effect, true ORM will “overcome evil with good” (Rom. 12:21) and ultimately spread more accurate, positive and uplifting information to the millions of people in the online mission field.

1 https://www.brightlocal.com/learn/local-consumer-review-survey/

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