As Taylor Swift once said, “The haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate.” That’s a lot of hate for one song, but sometimes we receive a lot of hate in our daily lives, especially online. Today, with social media right at our fingertips, negative reviews tend to arise. What you need to do is take these reviews, learn from them if possible, and then simply, shake it off. By following these guidelines, you and your business can maintain damage control before it gets, shall we say, out of control, and respond in a proper manner. Let’s get started!

Find a Fix: Have a team of people constantly reviewing all social posts. Whenever a customer or viewer comments on your social media platforms, or perhaps leaves a negative review, have a team or team member set up to receive notifications so the review or comment is seen immediately.  That way you can respond promptly and in a timely manner. People care when you go the extra mile and make their needs known. By responding right away, you are showing their opinion matters and sometimes that extra care can turn into a positive review for you and your business. A Win-Win!

Think Positive:

For most of us, we are passionate about our company and care about our customers. So whenever we get a negative review, it stings. The key to negative reviews is how you respond to them. Always stay positive. Good things will come from it. Take a step back, take a deep breath, and handle the problem with a positive attitude. Just because you get a negative review, that doesn’t make you a bad company. Think of it more like a sticky situation to tackle and an opportunity to learn and grow.  There are always going to be people in the world who thrive off of negativity and drama. Often times they are the ones who take the time to write a bad review. It just goes with the territory. There will also be those who are genuinely disappointed in your product or company and are taking the time to share the reasons why. Approach every one of these with an open mind and a guarded heart and always remember, this is business. Learning means growing.

Empathize & Apologize: People are looking for humanity. Be genuine in your response. A negative review can be a great opportunity for your business to respond in a positive and clear way. That approach will have a significant impact on your customers – even on those who didn’t write the negative comment but saw you replied in a positive manner. Empathize with people, and if you’re wrong, admit you’re wrong. People respond well to sincerity and admitting when a mistake was made. It helps everyone move forward and may also help you gain a new customer.

Get More Positive Reviews: When customers get a proper and rapid response, they are more likely to edit, delete, or replace their negative review with a positive one. However, not everyone changes their mind, and unfortunately, you can’t delete reviews from certain platforms. However, you can reduce where they pop up online for people to see. By obtaining and promoting more positive reviews, you can push the negative ones further down the line.  Never be afraid to ask your valued customers to give you a review or a ‘like’ on social media. Everyone understands how important that can be, and more people than you could ever imagine will want to help you thrive. It’s as simple as asking.

To be successful in business it can be as simple as listening to your customers and learning from your mistakes. Every business has a learning curve and the most successful businesses are not afraid to try new things. If Taylor Swift can teach us anything in this world, it’s to “shake it off.” Use negative reviews to improve your company, grow from them, and then move on. You have a business to run, get to it!


Plaid Swan is a women-owned marketing communications firm operating out of Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The firm represents clients across the United States in public relations, media planning, social and digital media, graphic design and strategic planning. Visit us online at or on our social media channels as @PlaidSwan. Lines are meant to be crossed.