November 27, 2010

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The Positives of Negative Comments

While plenty of real estate professionals start a blog with the simple aim of generating more website traffic, many quickly find that the day to day realty of blogging is tougher than they first thought.

Coming up with ideas in the first place can be difficult enough, but what about when your readers decide to take you to task on what you’ve written? How do you confront negative feedback without the conversation degenerating into a mud-slinging match?

For a few tips, let’s take a look at a recent example of negative blog feedback from New Zealand. Market leading portal recently unveiled a complete redesign, prompting a swift backlash on the portal’s blog. CEO Alistair Helm did a couple of things right in responding to the criticism in the blog comments:

To begin with, he responded personally to as many commenters as possible, addressing many by name.

Helm also kept his answers polite and comprehensible, even though the situation was, he admitted, “personally disappointing.”

Finally, he thanked each commenter for their contribution, despite that fact that most were critical of the new-look website.

Helm has a major real estate portal’s reputation to consider, so there’s little chance his responses were going to be anything different. That said, there’s no reason real estate agents shouldn’t take the same approach when negative comments pop up on their blogs.

When you think about it, there’s a lot more at stake than winning an argument with a commenter. If you can respond to a negative comment with some forethought and poise, you’re also presenting yourself, and therefore your business, in the best possible light. And that has to be a positive.



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  1. Alice,

    Very interesting to see these comments and naturally could not agree more with your assessment, particularly in the context of agent blogs.

    Whilst I would not like to say what has happened with our site has given us any positives, it has I believe demonstrated that we are an open and transparent organisation that is listening and is prepared to engage in dialogue. Handling negative comments can be turned into respected opinions (yet still clearly differing opinions) through respect and acknowledgment.

    The real estate industry here in NZ as as I have found internationally strive to be seen as trusted and respected - the power of blogs and other forms of social media certainly facilitate this - it does however require that first key step that allows for the posting of negative comments (or just challenging) comments in the first place.

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