I am publishing a special series detailing my SWARM methodology — a toolset to help you respond when your organization gets negative feedback online. This is the fourth lesson. You may want to start reading with the “S” in SWARM, the “W” in SWARM, and the “A” in SWARM first.

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You may find that in the heat of the moment, people exaggerate the issue. Suddenly, a simple dispute over what they were charged becomes, in their mind, a criminal action where they were billed hundreds of thousands of dollars.

One of the peculiarities of “Digital Personality Disorder” is that combatants believe they won’t get attention without a very serious story. So, they might add details that simply aren’t accurate.

Someone posts this on your Facebook wall:


First, try to calm down the instinctive defensive feeling this creates in you. Think — does this person have a real point? Perhaps that elevator really is, in fact, being jammed up by able-bodied people who could easily take the stairs. Always look for a Win/Win. This might be a great one for you.

But, almost certainly your elevator hasn’t been broken for “half the time,” as this person claims.

(And one more important thing — she’s put #fail in a Facebook post, which could indicate she has also posted this message on her Twitter account, reaching even more people.)

It’s important that you correct the record. Remember, Google has an elephant’s memory. If she had posted this in a blog review, you need to have the accurate information attached to this post, so correcting the records right on that page as a comment is critical. If she posted this on a consumer review site like Yelp, there’s nothing you can do to get her comment removed from your listing.

There is nothing wrong with politely correcting the record, and you should absolutely do it if they have claimed something that isn’t true.
In this case, you might respond something like this:

[message_box color=”yellow”]

Thank you for letting me know about this. I’m so sorry that happened to you Friday.
(S – Speak Like a Human.)

I’ve instructed our team to put a sign in the elevators telling people to use the stairs if they don’t have mobility issues.
(W – Win/Win) 

Please let me know directly at manager@restaurant.com if it’s not.
(A – Avoid a Public Battle)

The elevator is almost always working, though. It shouldn’t have been broken half the time.
(R – Right the Wrongs)

Could I pick your brains in the future about ways we can make our restaurant easier to get into?
(M – Make Friends)


There is nothing wrong with politely correcting inaccuracies. In fact, you should do it. Just do it in a human, polite tone.

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Final Post: “M: Make Friends”

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This is a small part of Tod’s keynote presentation “The Facts of Strife: A Blueprint to Crisis Management Online.” In the presentation, your group will also learn:

  • Tod’s company’s highly effective PEDB (Praise/Escalate/Delete/Ban) flow-strategy for managing your brand’s social media presence
  • How to create a Negative Response Strategy for your firm
  • The most effective, compliance-safe social media policies for employees
  • How one of the most talked-about social media campaigns ended up nearly destroying its brand
  • Tod’s model of a “web swarm,” and his five-step methodology for responding to a swarm
  • How your legal and marketing teams should deal when your brand falls victim to “Twitterjacking
  • Case studies of instances where organizations in your industry have faced attacks online, how they dealt with them, and the results
  • Why your organization’s next hire needs to be a Chief Humanizing Officer and what that role would entail
  • How to monitor the state of your brand’s reputation daily, with almost no technical expertise

Here is more information about the presentation or you can inquire about Tod presenting it to your group.