You posted something to your Facebook wall that causes a fan (or two), to respond with a negative comment. Maybe someone from outside of your company sends out a Tweet or writes a blog post about your company that you don’t like or that is less-than-flattering. What do you do?
With growing consumer engagement, these types of scenarios are becoming evermore present. Individuals online are now more likely to take to social media when they feel slighted, annoyed or otherwise compelled to comment. I’ve even experienced it first-hand on a couple of seemingly innocent blog posts. Readers felt compelled to chime in with some not-so-flattering comments and their “thoughts” on my content. So what did I do? I let the comments stand and addressed them head-on.
Our response to negativity is often one of two things: Playing possum, pretending to be dead, hoping the predator will just “go away”, or the knee-jerk effect where we “pull it down” as quickly as possible, hoping no one saw it. Often times though, doing either one of these things adds fuel to the fire, increasing the power and persistence of the attacker.
There are very few circumstances where removing comments are acceptable. It may be appropriate to remove comments if they are intentionally inflammatory, illegal, or if they add spam links to your website. If these comments are placed on a blog topic, some companies also remove them if they drive the conversation off-course, leading reader engagement away from the topic written about. When comments are removed, readers should always be directed to you company social media policy or conversation guidelines.
Content should not be removed if is simply disagreeable or just because it is negative in nature. Let the negative comments remain posted, and directly address them as quickly as possible.
- Make sure you are direct in your response,
- When possible direct a message to each person who has commented,
- Be honest and sincere with your responses,
- And most importantly, apologize if you have done something wrong even if it was unintentional!
I have had several companies tell me that the “fear of what someone else could say” has turned them off from using social media. However that shouldn’t be a strong enough barrier to prevent your company from reaping the possible rewards of using social media. Add conversation guidelines for comments, create a general social media policy for your company and create a crisis plan for “before something happens”. Taking these few extra steps will add a level of comfort for your company and help you better understand what to do when something goes wrong.