The Internet Makes People Mean. How Does That Affect Your Brand?
Some people act the same on the internet as they do in real life. But many people will change significantly. Studies have found that the internet lowers a person’s inhibitions. This has been termed the “online disinhibition effect.” People will say things that they would never say in real life or act in an overly aggressive manner. For instance, people often use hedge words – like “seems to” or “sometimes” – to try to soften the mood when saying something controversial, but someone on the internet may simply make a blunt statement. People are also more likely to get into arguments and disagreements. They are less likely to compromise and see both sides of an issue.
In terms of social media, this often means that people will act in a hostile manner. If they met a business owner in person, they may be courteous and understanding, and they would never directly insult a person. But if they’re leaving a review online, it may be insulting and negative. The internet creates some level of distance between themself and the person they’re insulting, so they are less likely to rein those actions in. How is this going to impact your company and your brand?
Negative Reviews Are More Common
For one thing, it is much more common for people to leave negative reviews than positive ones. Many people will have positive experiences with the product and then take no action. They will not leave a rating or a review. They expected to like the product and they did, so they forget about it and move on with their life. But a person who has a negative experience is likely going to leave that negative review, skewing the overall perception of how happy people are with the product or service.
It Creates a Hostile Environment
This type of aggressive behavior can often lead to an overall environment of hostility. For example, one bad review can sometimes lead to a cascade of other reviews. In some cases, companies will be “review bombed” by people who haven’t even been to the business. This can cause a fast and drastic reduction in their online reputation. But it’s the type of thing that would never have happened if all of these interactions took place face-to-face.
What Can You Do to Protect Your Brand?
There are ways to combat this. It’s important to have a friendly and communicative social media team. You can sometimes counter negative reviews by responding to them and trying to resolve the situation so the person will remove that review. It’s also good just to understand that negative behavior is more common online. This allows you to react to it properly because you know why it’s happening. It may not actually reflect what the average person thinks of your brand. It’s important not to take something like that personally.
Here at Content Customs, we have a lot of experience with reputation management, social media management and much more. If you’re interested in protecting your brand and positively marketing yourself in the future, please give us a call today.