If you blog and moderate your comments, how many times do you automatically delete the nasty ones, instead of just approving them?
Do you delete comments you don’t like from your Facebook profile or Facebook page?
How many times have you heard a retailer bellyaching that they don’t want a profile on Yelp, because somebody might give them a bad review?
Bad comments can do you more good than harm, so stop treating them like a case of the cooties.
I’m not referring to comments from gutter mouths, perverts or people who want to pick a fight. I’m referring instead to comments from people who simply want to disagree with something you’ve written, point out a mistake or bad customer service issue, suggest a better way to do your job, or anything else that makes you look bad.
I’m tempted to hit the “Delete” key when I see things I don’t like but I try to resist the temptation. Here’s why you should, too:
1. They make your blog or website appear authentic and believable.
Admit it. What do you think when you’re at somebody else’s website and you see a long string of glowing comments but not one negative comment?
2. They flag you to let you know how you’ve really screwed up.
If a link in your blog post leads to an error page instead of a sales page, or you wrote something inaccurate, better to find out as soon as possible so you can repair the damage quickly before you lose business. And thank the person who pointed it out to you.
3. They let you address customer service problems head on and show the public you’re committed to making things right.
The folks at Yelp say that when someone posts a bad review about a local business, like a restaurant, it’s smart for the restaurateur to address comments publicly and privately. The writer’s hour-long wait for his meal might have been because two chefs were out sick with the flu. If the owner explains that, the writer might be inclined edit the review and soften the criticism.
Watch these two videos of how small business people tackle bad Yelp reviews head-on.
4. They show you—and other visitors—that people are reading your content.
What’s the Number One frustration among bloggers? Not enough traffic! The Number Two frustration is not enough comments.
5. Bad comments can encourage your supporters to rally to your defense.
All it takes is one nasty comment. If your audience loves you, they’ll jump into the fray and support you with glowing prose about things like your ethics, integrity and business acumen. Without that one comment to prod them, they might have said nothing.
6. It gives your followers a chance to help make your business better.
People who already know, like and trust you will want to be a part of your success, even if the criticism does sting. Who can argue with that?
7. If somebody is going to speak poorly about you, better it be at your own blog where you’re aware of it and do reputation management, and not at somebody else’s blog and you’re clueless that they’re trashing you.
One of the dumbest reasons bloggers give for not allowing comments at their blog is “so people can’t say bad things about me.” If people feel that strongly about something you’ve done that they don’t like, they’re probably already trashing you—at another blog, in a forum or in a social media group.
What other reasons are there for embracing nasty comments? And if you think I’m wrong, please let me know.