How To Protect Your Brand from Negativity Online, by Foundation

by | May 12, 2021

Wondering how to protect your reputation online, and what to do with negative reviews? Read advice from British Beauty Council Patron, beauty marketing agency, Foundation. 

Wondering how to protect your reputation online? Beauty marketing agency, Foundation, share their top tips.


Online shopping – we all do it. It’s quick, convenient and you don’t even have to change out of your pyjamas to enjoy a bit of retail therapy. So, it will come as no surprise that, despite e-commerce already being a sizeable force, with so many of us newly incentivised to stay at home throughout 2020 and 2021, it’s bigger than ever before. And while this increased activity means new opportunities and larger profits for many, it also means learning how to deal with negativity online should be a top priority. 


We all crave those 5-star reviews and glowing social media posts – but for everyone, there will come a time where we have to face up to a bad review or negative comment. How you deal with this negativity can have a profound effect on your business. 


As a business owner, you need to know how to protect your reputation online. So, what’s the first step? Before anything, it’s useful to know how important reviews – both positive and negative – are to your brand.


How Important Are Reviews?


Why do we care so much about dealing with bad reviews? Well, the truth is, reviews are a leading purchase incentive for the majority of consumers. A recent study found that the likelihood a person will purchase a product jumps up by 270% if the product has 5 or more reviews, and consumer reviews are trusted nearly 12 times more than manufacturer descriptions.


Conversely, negative reviews can have a significant effect on both sales and brand reputation. Research shows they influence the buying decision of 86% of consumers, and a single negative review is enough to discourage 35% of consumers from making a purchase.


How Common Are Negative Reviews?


Even for the most beloved brands, negative reviews can be a common occurrence. Whether it’s on-site reviews, Amazon, Google, or consumers uploading negative social media posts, critiquing brands online has never been easier.


How To Encourage Good Reviews


One of the best things you can do to protect your brand from negativity online is to boost the positive perception of your brand through good news stories and positive user reviews. 


By making consumers feel invested in your brand, you can increase the likelihood that they will share their good experiences for everyone to see. We recommend:

  • Regularly sharing insights into your brand – glimpses behind the scenes and interviews can make your audience feel closer and more involved.
  • Engaging on social media – it might seem small, but quick replies, retweets and shares can make the world of difference. By regularly engaging in this way you can make your brand appear more down-to-earth and approachable. 
  • Personalised emails – by customising the user journey and perfecting your communication, your consumers will be much more likely to return, repurchase, and review. 
  • Incentivise reviewing – you cannot force someone to leave your business a great review (at least, ethically), but offering a small discount or a free delivery on next purchase for anyone who provides feedback, can boost the total number submitted. 


How To Deal With Bad Reviews 


Despite your best efforts, there will always be some negativity online. Many brands simply shy away from bad reviews, choosing to delete or ignore negativity online. This is often seen as the simple solution – one that avoids further conflict and limits the fall-out of what has been said. However, we’d urge you to think twice before making silence your main strategy.


Don’t Hit Delete


Most consumers who post negative reviews are looking for one of these things:

  • Empathy and compassion
  • A response
  • A resolution


If you delete or ignore their message, you are missing the opportunity of turning a negative comment into a positive exchange. If the review touches on a legitimate issue with a product or an aspect of your business, you may also be missing out on the chance to make improvements – and to prevent similar comments later down the line.


Transparency and good communication are qualities consumers value. So, before hitting delete, take some time to consider what an appropriate response could look like, and whether it’s possible for you to fulfil any of the bullet points above.


Craft Responses Carefully


A badly-worded response could be worse than no response at all. The last thing you want to do is provide more ammo, so when thinking about how to respond to negativity online, consider the following:

  • Play nice avoid responding in anger or rudeness, or sounding unsympathetic, as this could encourage further negativity.
  • Seek understanding – if you don’t fully understand the consumer’s complaint, ask them to contact you directly with more information.
  • Be genuine – make sure any information or update you provide is accurate and informed, and be sincere. 
  • Be proactive – by showing a willingness to quickly engage and help with the issue, you can prove you care and help win back trust from consumers who witness the exchange.


Resolve the Issue


If there is a genuine issue, you’ll want to resolve it quickly. Sometimes, a resolution can be as simple as a sincere apology or a refund. At other times, you might need to work a bit harder: for instance, by making a larger change to your brand or ways of working, issuing a public statement or creating content to refocus and reframe the conversation.


To ensure you can be as efficient as possible, create a plan to outline the process of dealing with negativity online, including who is responsible for each action. 


To adequately prepare for the possibility of more serious bad press, you’ll need a detailed crisis communication plan. This is how you can make sure your organisation has the infrastructure in place to respond as needed, if a crisis emerges.


Follow Up


Thought we were done? Think again. Where appropriate, it’s always a good idea to follow up after issues are resolved. This way, you can reinforce your commitment to great customer service and make consumers really feel cared for. 


From Bad To Good


Is all publicity really good publicity? That’s up for debate. But what we do know is that the right response can make a huge difference, and there are ways to turn bad comments into something good. For instance:

  • Use complaints for content marketing – if users aren’t using one of your products correctly, take inspiration from from BeautyBay / The Ordinary and create a how-to guide. This will help clear up confusion, as well as provide some extra exposure for the product in question.
  • Turn consumer feedback into change – keep a record of the negative reviews and comments your brand gets online, and feed them into your development plan. This is a great way to stay in-tune with your audience and better track the frequency of particular comments and complaints.




The main thing to remember is: accidents happen, things occasionally go wrong, and we all have room for improvement. However, by putting in place a solid strategy to deal with negativity online, you can take away many of the headaches associated with bad press.

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