by Michael Leggs
What would you do if your business started receiving a flurry of bad reviews on the internet? What would be your game plan to address the snowball effect of negative comments on social media sites such as Yelp and FourSquare? You need to have a strategy in place before such events occur. A definite strategy ensures your ability to protect the reputation of your business that you built with hard work and dedication over the years.
Nowadays, businesses face many
problems due to the anonymous nature of the online world. Anyone can share
negative experiences—founded or unfounded—about businesses with very few
restrictions. Granted, positive reviews are also part of the picture, but they
do not spread as quickly as negative reviews. In the animal kingdom, if one
hyena successfully injures and disables a wildebeest, others appear and join in
on the attack the compromised prey with more gusto and wild abandon, energized
by the initial actions of the first hyena, and will not stop until the prey is
In the world of humans, this
phenomenon is mirrored by sudden onslaughts of bad reviews of a business. This
sociological phenomenon is called “Groupthink,” a term that was coined by
sociologist Irving Janis in 1972. According to Janis, it occurs “when a group makes
faulty decisions because group pressures lead to a deterioration of “mental
efficiency, reality testing, and moral judgment” (9).
even though the negativity may be unfounded, there is a pack mentality that
occurs in which other negative reviewers add to threads of negative commentary,
either to solidify their sense of belonging to a certain social group, or to
win admittance to a social group. As Janis suggests, “reality testing” can
decrease as a factor, which means that, at its worst, many of the negative
reviews can have very little or no basis in the actual experiences or truth
once the negative comments multiply.
This is where reputation management
comes into the picture. It is in the best interest of your business to hire a
reputation management firm that can provide the expertise to mitigate
appearances of negative commentary on social media in an effective and timely
manner. Without reputation management support in place, your business is at
risk of losing business from the exponential nature of negative reviews in the
social media space and the irreparable damage that can be done to your brand.
best defense for businesses is a good offense: A professional firm that offers
reputation monitoring and management, with the ability to mitigate negative
reviews before they start a viral negative campaign on social media. Reputation
management experts can, not only monitor, but also devise a strategy to handle
negative comments in a manner that de-escalates the “groupthink” effect, while
concurrently cultivating a campaign of positive reviews.
the world social media, the groupthink phenomenon can be used to grow threads
of positive commentary because, fortunately, people also seek a sense of
community with others based on what they do like. In short, even though you may
feel that reputation management on social media is not as important as other
aspects of your marketing strategy, it is definitely one that you should take
Irving L. Victims of Groupthink.
Boston: Houghton, Mifflin, 1972. Print.