draw a lineI’ve spoken before about the difference between negative comments and unacceptable comments, so as you know, there’s a big difference.

Quick overview

Negative comments need to be responded to and give you the opportunity to turn an unhappy customer or fan into a life-long advocate.

Unacceptable comments are unacceptable and should be deleted.

But where do you draw that line and how do you let your employees, fans and customers know where that line is drawn and what happens when it’s been crossed?

The first thing for you to do is to identify the difference between what is considered to be negative and what is deemed unacceptable.

Let me help you with some guidelines

Negative comments
A negative comment is anything that is posted or tweeted about your brand that:

  • Does not shine your brand in the most positive light
  • Contradicts or challenges your brand in some way
  • Is a complaint, an annoyance, a grievance shared or posted by a customer or fan

Now don’t get me wrong. Negative comments are never fun. They can be frustrating, unpleasant and stressful. And before you develop a thicker skin to dealing with them, your first instinct may just be to delete them as to not deal with them, but that is never a good idea. The only thing that deleting negative comments will do is anger the already unhappy customer or fan even further – and that’s when even more negativity begins to engulf your brand.

Unacceptable comments
An unacceptable comment is a comment that contains profanity (to the level that you determine), racism, … or anything that may cause offense to your staff or the other customers and fans coming to your page. These such comments should be deemed unacceptable and removed from your wall or channel.

After you’ve drawn the line

Once you’ve spent time determining where the line between the two is drawn and have trained your staff in ways of responding to different the types of negative situations, you need to make that line clear for any and all viewers, fans and customers engaging on your page. This allows you to state the policy of your channel and backs you up when someone does cross that line into unacceptable and forces you to hit the delete button.

Where should you state this policy?

The best place to state this policy is within the “About” section of your page. There’s enough space there for you to explain the difference between negativity and unacceptable behaviour, and to clearly state the consequences of those who cross the line, as well as for those who repeatedly cross the line.

Here is an example of a brand who does this beautifully:

Policy by Oreo

So spend some time drawing a line between the two, training your staff and making it clear and simple for all those engaging on your page. It’s a simple policy that should be made available to all. Facebook doesn’t have very strict guidelines when it comes to foul language or unacceptable postings, and if you want your page to have respectful engagement, this is a smart and simple effort to take in order to create an atmosphere of proper and respectful conduct for all involved.

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