5 Ways to Make A Bad Review Online Work For Your Business

9 min read

As business owners, it’s important to realize that we have more power over a bad review online than we think.

The key is to find your bad reviews and respond to them — before other potential customers see them!

The most efficient way to find each bad review online for your business?

Social listening.

Hopefully, you already know exactly where each bad review online that your customers give your business can be found:

  • Online review sites like Yelp, Angie’s List, Happy Cow, TripAdvisor, Yahoo! Local Listings, Google My Business, Better Business Bureau, Bing Places, Facebook, Epinions, Foursquare, G2 Crowd, HomeAdvisor, Hundredx, OpenTable, Glassdoor, etc…
  • Your own business retail website
  • Your own business Facebook fan page
  • Your customer’s Facebook timeline
  • Your customer’s Tweets on Twitter
  • Your customer’s Instagram posts
  • On personal blogs
  • And, without a doubt, the hardest one to track down: online mentions where your business is not tagged, but your customers are talking about you and giving you bad reviews.

And hopefully, you’re not wasting your energy looking for bad reviews of your business manually, on all of these platforms.

That would eat away a hefty chunk of your time.

Which is why I recommend taking advantage of social listening tools like Brand24.

What is social listening and how can you use it to find a bad review online?

When online conversations are monitored for mentions of select keywords or key phrases, that’s called social listening.

The keywords that you monitor can be related to anything: from your arch nemesis or industry heroes, to standard mentions of your business and product, as well as your competitors.

To find a bad review online with social listening, all you have to do is monitor mentions of your business or product and then apply the sentiment filter. Like this:

How to find a bad review online with social listening:

  1. Think of all the ways people could be referring to your business and product, and enter them as keywords.
    How to find a bad review online with social listening
  2. You’ll be taken to your Project Dashboard which displays all your mentions. Set the Sentiment Filter to Negative to find negative mentions of your keywords. 
    How to find a bad review online with social listening

Your dashboard will now display all negative mentions of your keywords. And that’s it!

In just 2 steps, you’ve found every bad review online for Shake Weight.

Create a free social listening project for your own business and handle your bad reviews before potential customers see them.

Now, here are some impressive and effective ways that businesses have been making their bad reviews work for them:


As the saying goes, one man’s junk is another man’s treasure.

Find your bad review online & own it

Snowbird took this to heart and they owned the bad review online that a customer gave them by featuring it in a beautifully designed advertisement.


I’ve heard Snowbird is a tough mountain, but this is ridiculous. It felt like every trail was a steep chute and littered with tree walls. How is anyone supposed to ride in that? Not fun!

Is it a tough mountain? Yes.

Does this make it unique? Yes.

Is it not for beginners or the meek-hearted? You bet your sweet *ss.

With a cleverly featured bad online review, one customer’s nightmare slope became another customer’s adventure in Wonderland.

Nice work, Snowbird!


Trend alert: restaurant owners have not been shy about standing up for their businesses against unfair bad reviews left by their customers.

This is exactly how Broadway Oyster Bar handled this bad review online from one of their patrons:

Read Mary S.’s review of Broadway Oyster Bar on Yelp

Do you see what I see?

Mike didn’t tag or direct his message at Skype.

He just mentioned the software in his Tweet.

Because the company isn’t tagged (not even a hashtag!), we know that Twitter did not send any notifications about the message to Skype.

And unless Skype has a gazillion interns who are available to comb through every Tweet in the Twitter-verse for mentions of Skype, the only way Mike’s Tweet could have been found is with social listening.

It’s the only and best way to find mentions of your business when you’re not tagged.

Unless you have an army of interns, that is.

How do you find bad reviews for your business?

You already learned how to find your bad review online earlier, in just 2 steps. (It’s under the section How to find a bad review online with social listening, near the beginning of this article.)

But what if you have more than just one bad review online?

You’ll want to prioritize the most damaging ones (i.e., the bad reviews that have the most engagement: likes, comments, and shares).

This is easy, and we can find them by picking up from step 2 in the 2-step method to finding a bad review online. Like this:

Prioritize your bad reviews:

  1. Go to your Analysis Tab. This is where you can find the mentions with the most engagement (likes, comments, and shares). To get there, just click on Analysis from the sidebar on the left.
    prioritize your bad reviews
  2. Now, to see the negative mentions with the most engagement, click on Filter Mentions on the upper right hand corner.
  3. You’ll get a pop-up window. Set the Sentiment Filter to Negative, click on Close, and your Analysis Tab will now display the negative mentions with the most engagement.
    prioritize your bad reviews

The Brand24 Analysis Tab can quickly show you:

  • Your most popular mentions — essentially a list showing each bad review online that people have been liking, commenting on, or sharing. They need to be taken care of ASAP before anybody else decides to like, comment on, or share them.
  • Your most active sites — list of websites where your bad reviews are most often mentioned.
  • Your most active social media authors — shows you who talks about your bad reviews most often.
  • And more...

To get your own Analysis Tab that will show you even more interesting data for your business (instead of Shake Weight), just set up your own social listening project with Brand24.

Find every bad review online quickly and efficiently through social listening — and get in there and take care of the situation before your potential customers see it

Then get creative with the inspirational tips above and make a bad review online work for your business!