It's a common thing to see on Facebook, people making claims about a restaurant and restaurants trying to squash those claims.
A few days ago I saw a restaurant I frequent posting a lengthy status update about someone who is going "viral" with negative things about them. This was the gist:
Someone recently fired says we failed a health inspection.
We are suing this person.
Don't believe anything they say.
But, yes we did fail the inspection.
Look, I know it's hard to see your business talked poorly about online. It is a punch right to the gut! Let's break this whole scenario down and explain what could've been done better.
Someone's Negative Review
Not everyone is going to like you. Get that through your head before opening a business. There will always be someone who thinks they can run your business better than you can and won't hesitate to tell you that.
You, as a business owner, do not have to reply to every negative review. Especially, if you are going to put your personal feelings in the response. I worked (for a very short time) for a business years ago who used the business profile to insult the looks of every person who said something negative about his business. He thought he was being funny and standing up for what he worked for when actually people were taking screenshots and sending them to his family and friends. Groups in his niche began starting petitions and organizations to not work with this guy due to his hatefulness, and you know what happened? They went out of business a couple years later-- and there are multiple articles online about how people are happy about it.
A Failed Test/ 'Hot Mic' Situations
In this example above the restaurant failed a health inspection. A fair amount of people will not eat at a restaurant they know to have failed a health inspection while others are fairly lenient on the subject. There is a concensus- people remember this sort of thing.
If you fail a health inspection, do not tell your loyal followers about it on your business page. The people who 'like' your Facebook page are the people who have kept your business afloat, and as much as we hope they continue during your setbacks, you don't need to remind them.
"But it's all over the internet!" The restaurant responded to me. So, I looked. I couldn't find a thing about it (and this is my speciality!)
"It had 5 shares!" Ok,... 5 shares versus all 6,000 of your followers? Choose your battles and take a step back. We do not need to overexpose the bad news.
This leads me into a Hot Mic situation. Did your employee (or you) say something negative to a customer who got it on tape? In these situations, there is more legitimacy to it as there is video evidence. This is my advice to businesses dealing with unwanted attention:
Do not respond unless it comes to your business page.
If people are talking on their own pages- fine.
If they are talking in person- fine.
Until they start commenting ON your business Facebook Page or Instagram account you do not need to respond.*
*Each case is different but this is a good starting point.
If you take anything from this article let it be this:
Do not make someone go looking for negative information.
Do not make your customers want to find a negative review, comment, video, etc. Because, well, that's how the internet works. Keep your business page as postive and upbeat as you possibly can. Do not address negativity that is swirling around online if it does not openly come to your page. When your loyal fans start to see comments linking a negative review over and over, and a Social Media Attack begins to happen, then you need to address it. Keep yourself calm and collected. If you have trouble keeping your personal feelings away from your business, this may be the time to reach out to a social media manager to help distance yourself from your public image.