Good Reviews Are Good, But Bad Ones Can Be Better

Good Reviews Are Good, But Bad Ones Can Be Better

Say Goodbye To Cranky

We’ve been a little cranky lately on our podcasts. In retrospect, last week we did an awful lot of complaining about people who complain. Ahem.

So we’re back with some positivity. Even if it comes wrapped up in a negative review because it turns out that’s what we end up talking about.

But First, The Best Tea Ever Created

Our friend Mike Books of the Nuclear Chowder podcast made us a video last week demonstrating the best tea one could hope to drink. No spoilers, you’ll have to watch to see how awesome it is.

SuperFred Shout Out

To my brother Kevin who heard that we named Tammie Rampley the Chief Executive Pride Officer and complained that we should have named him.

So Ralph decides to put them in the Thunderdome to fight it out. I suggest that we can have one pride officer for each color of the rainbow but Ralph isn’t convinced.

In the end we decide Tammie’s weapon will be the sewing machine and Kevin’s will be the cocktail and that will be a battle worth watching.

Ello, There!

No, that’s not a typo. Ello is yet another social network that seems to exist solely to be the anti-Facebook.

Neither of us is impressed but Ralph recently saw the “Social Media Bill of Rights” that Ello put out and decided to sign it. Among other things, it said that you have a right to privacy, but as soon as Ralph signed the document, his name was published publicly without warning.

Kind of odd for a social network proclaiming privacy to publicly post its users’ information, huh?

The E.L. James Twitter Chat Is The Worst Disaster In The History Of Disasters. Ever.

Or not.

To read the dozen cherry-picked “mean tweets” that every publication printed with hateful glee, you’d think this was the worst thing to happen in marketing and PR since New Coke.

But nobody bothered to mention the large number of positive tweets she received from fans.

Now, look. We’re no fans of E.L. James or 50 Shades of Gray (especially because it competes with Ralph’s erotic fiction title 49 Shades of Beige) but that doesn’t negate the millions of fans she does have.

You can’t judge the success of a Twitter chat or marketing campaign based on the people who don’t like the business or product.

Of course, positive headlines don’t sell. “E.L. James Has a Great Time With Fans” doesn’t get as many eyeballs (and subsequently ad revenue) as “E.L. James FAILS. Twitter Chat Complete Disaster!”

So if you’re a business thinking of getting out there on social media and afraid of the perpetual nonsense that makes headlines, just remember that it’s not you. It’s the Internet.

You have to filter that artuff out and do what you do.

Ryan Hanley Gets His First Bad Review

We love Ryan Hanley and his Content Warfare book. He’s been on our show three times so that should give you an idea of what we think of him.

But apparently someone disagrees!

Ralph tells a story of his last networking meeting when a member stood up and started reading negative reviews about his own business.

While everyone looked on in wonder, he went on to explain that while he doesn’t like negative reviews and they make him feel bad, each one had some kernel of truth that he could use to improve his business.

Are Negative Reviews Better Than Positive Reviews?

They can be!

If you just sit in the echo chamber of your fans you may never see the flaws and learn how you can improve and perhaps even gain more fans and earn more business.

Positive reviews are good because they let you know what’s working but negative ones will show you how to be even better.

Our Bad Review

On last Monday’s episode we poked fun at a review we received from someone who said that we talk too much without getting to the point. And that amused us a bit because, well, he’s right… and that’s ok with us.

But…

And there’s a big fat but…

One of our listeners thought we were making fun of the reviewer and sent an email to me saying that wasn’t very nice.

And you know what?

She’s right!

We were having fun with the review but we totally get how someone could see that as doing the exact thing we say we don’t like, which is “being mean” and making fun of people.

That’s the value of listening to people when they don’t shower you with praise, but instead call you out on your nonsense.

And That’s The Value Of A Fan

Yes, real fans shower you with praise and get on board your train wherever it’s going.

But real fans also aren’t afraid to tell you the truth, even when it isn’t pretty.

Real fans shake their head and forgive your transgressions and they stick around long enough to give you another chance to go back to being awesome.

Don’t Be Afraid To Piss People Off

We certainly didn’t make that particular reviewer happy but that’s ok. On our recent episode with Katherine Kotaw about storytelling, she said that if you haven’t pissed someone off then you’re not doing it right.

Not everyone is going to like you or what you do.

Ralph Gets Blocked On Twitter

Social media can be tough to navigate because even the simplest statement can be construed as mean or negative without context, body language and tone to temper it.

This past week Ralph got a message from someone that said, “Spam.”

Nothing else.

When he looked into it, he noticed that a Twitter automation tool was sending out auto thank-you messages on his behalf. He hadn’t realized that this was happening but someone else sure did.

In an attempt to make light of the situation, he commented that spam tastes great on toast. And immediately got himself blocked.

Goes to show that nuance can certainly be lost on social media, especially on Twitter where you’re forced to converse in 140 character increments.

It also goes to show that negative feedback (in this case via block) can be useful. It alerted Ralph to a problem that he could fix. We’ll have to work on the humor thing next time.

Negative Vs. Negative

You have to recognize the difference between a legitimate negative review that you can use to improve and a negative review that isn’t actionable.

In the case of Ryan Hanley’s book review, the reviewer commented that he wanted to read a how-to book and Ryan’s wasn’t it.

In that respect, the review isn’t actionable because Ryan never set out to write a how-to book.

On the other hand, someone saying that our automation is annoying is something we can change. Because automation is annoying and that’s certainly not something to strive for!

So when it comes to negative feedback, don’t go to extremes – you can’t pack up your bags and crawl into a cave, but you can’t dismiss it, either.

Your Marketing Action Item

From Ralph: Go online and print out all your negative reviews. Then share them with your key staff and find the truth in them. Figure out what’s actionable and find the things you can improve on. Or conduct an anonymous survey of your existing customers and ask them to review your product or service. Take the feedback and learn from it and use it to improve your business.

From Carol Lynn: Pick a company that you had a great experience with or you bought a great product from and leave them a positive review online. Let’s face it: we’re more inclined to complain. When we don’t like something we’re quick to take it public but not as likely to say the positive. Take the opportunity to shower some praise on someone doing a great job.

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Carol Lynn Rivera

Carol Lynn Rivera

I'm a business owner, content creator, podcaster and marketer. In 1999 I founded Rahvalor Interactive, a web and creative services production studio, with my husband and business partner Ralph. In 2011 we created Web.Search.Social, a consulting and marketing service line for small businesses. We also cohost the Web.Search.Social Podcast where we challenge the status quo of marketing and the Carbon Based Business Units podcast where we talk about the human side of being an entrepreneur. On any given day I wear the hat of project manager, consultant, social media manager and content marketer. My true passion is writing and in my spare time I'm busy planning my early retirement to Barcelona as a famous and wealthy novelist.
Carol Lynn Rivera
Carol Lynn Rivera
  • Thank you for the mention and the kind words! 🙂

    • That was a great article! Nobody likes to speak out if it doesn’t make sensational headlines.

  • My morning message… It is my job to speak my truth, not my job to make them “get it”….
    Anyone that says you guys talk too much and don’t get to the point, are they EVER going to be a regular listener of this show? Granted, I am a little biased, but, I am also a very realistic and literal person, I found what you were doing to be in fun. That is a part of what makes you guys so amazing, how many of us do exactly that in our daily lives and need a reminder that you can do exactly that and STILL be productive, get your message across, help people and do amazing work.

    I have to say that my recent obsession with Dorie Clark has me listen to a few different podcasts lately, some that are very popular and well received. I have needed toothpicks through some of them. I love her episodes, but trying to listen to them when it is just the podcaster, ugh, boring. They NEED a good guest to make their podcast interesting. That is where you guys stand out from the rest. Just the two of you, without any other person, can fill hours of air and be hilarious, full of great information and the benefit to the listener is fantastic. I would much rather listen to someone who tells me how their visit to the theater can impact my business, and whether I should go see that movie or not..

    Ok.. Thunderdome is a total straight man response… This is how the gays go about fighting for the spot of the “person who is to make WEB.SEARCH.SOCIAL fabulous” – You have a fabulous off, you have them continuously do allllll that they can to make it fabulous. For you, there are TWO people working on making your business fabulous, and with a little competition, oh my gosh, who knows what you will get. And We LOVE competition… Win, Win, Win…

    • Dude, you are a total die hard superfan and if we sat around sacrificing Hello Kitties to the gods of darkness you would probably still love us 🙂 Ok, wait… I meant babies. Sacrificing babies. The Hello Kitty thing goes a bit too far.

      But seriously, that is my way of saying thank you for being so awesomely supportive. Also I know what you mean about the “educational” podcasts. Sometimes it’s nice to learn stuff but those are the ones where I’m like ok ok get to the point… because they are kind of boring like a school lecture. There is one podcast I like called Back to Work and they talk about… work and productivity, sort of, except for most of the time when they’re talking about their lives and kids and stuff and I always listen avidly. The work stuff they talk about is cool and I get some great stuff but the other 52 minutes is fun 🙂

      And I am TOTALLY in favor of a Fabulous-Off. I know Kevin will be too, I have to mention this new development to him!

  • I’m a Champion personality type (ENFP): a huge idealist and neophile. I have plenty of people in my network that cheer me on, praise me, and lift me up. However, my closest and most trusted advisers tell me, “No”, challenge me to FOCUS, and interrupt me often.

    When I receive criticism, I have to remember that I am more than the sum of my ideas (my self-esteem, by nature, feels dependent on my ability to come up with original solutions). To stay well and move forward, I try to remember that not all my precious little ideas (beautiful and magical babies that should be allowed to thrive and run free like rainbow-vomiting unicorns) are actually solid. When someone reminds me that I have missed the mark, I try to listen and just say, “Thank You.”

    I will try reading my negative reviews out loud. Take away some of the fear and just observe them. Great action items guys, thanks again!

    • lol…. “rainbow-vomiting unicorns” Best line of the day. Being smacked down is never really fun but it can be very valuable!

  • We should change the term, “social media”, to “spew media”. LOL!!

    It’s never easy to embrace negativity. If someone says negative reviews/comments don’t bother them and they don’t take it personally, they’re lying. But after your feelings stop hurting, (and if you keep an open mind), it’s possible to see the silver lining in that very dark cloud. Let’s face it. You’ll never please all of the people all of the time. So don’t even try. Just focus on being yourself and having a blast! 🙂

    Ralph, I will never block you on Twitter.

    • Mike Brooks cracks me up. Of course now I totally want our own branded tea 🙂 Or maybe Ben & Jerry’s needs to give us an ice cream flavor! ooo the possibilities.

      No, you cannot please everyone. I don’t try. And yes, I get all egotistical when people don’t like something I did or said but that’s life. You live, learn, move on. If it’s helpful dissent you use it. If not, you ignore it!

      • I want Tammie to create the Web.Search.Social handbag. The fabric should include images of Arroz con Pollo, Mojitos, Hello Kitty, a podcast microphone, wine, chips and guacamole, craft beer, and all things marketing fun! 🙂