Are you prepared for a ‘fake’ Facebook crisis?
Picture the scene.
You’re about to open your brand new restaurant that you’ve invested blood, sweat and tears into. The staff are hired, the menus are printed and you’re fast gaining Facebook likes and Twitter followers.
But out of nowhere, your Facebook page is on the receiving end of a deluge of negative reviews. You haven’t even opened yet, so why do you have a series of one-star reviews slamming your service, choice of drinks and the bad smell coming from the bathroom?
Well, as David Brent pointed out in The Office: “sometimes the complaints will be false.”
The reviews have been posted by someone you fell out with a few years ago and they’ve rallied the troops to try and destroy your business before it even gets off the ground. You know that, but your prospective customers don’t.
This scenario is fictional, of course, but it’s absolutely something that could happen to you and your business and you need to be prepared to combat it. Social media has ensured that the balance of power is now more weighted towards customers than ever before, so it’s vital that you have a crisis management plan in place – regardless of whether the crisis is real or fake!
Here’s some of my tips on how to deal with a ‘fake’ crisis:
- Publically express concern about the reviews and reply publicly to them. You could say: “Hi. We’re sorry you felt compelled to give us a one-star review. Could you let us know what led you to do this?”
- If the problem persists and you keep on receiving fake reviews, you can report the users to Facebook and they might consider taking them down and ban them from your page. You can do that here.
- If you keep on receiving reviews (hundreds at the same time), the likelihood is that someone paid an online community of people to add bad reviews to your page, and it will take time for Facebook to look into the matter. To combat this, can post a message on your Facebook page and pin it to the top explaining the situation to your new visitors.
- If your score is really low, you might want to hide your reviews from Facebook and just leave the comments section.
I hope you’re never in a fake crisis situation but if you are, resist to urge to fight back in an equally dirty fashion and make sure you deal with it in a composed, calm and professional fashion. That will always win in the long term!