An unfortunate reality for page administrators on Facebook is the need to deal with negative comments, but deleting those comments or disabling them altogether is a mistake.
Social analytics and reporting firm Locowise shared a guide to dealing with negative comments, saying that the positives of leaving comments enabled on Facebook pages still far outweigh the harm caused by a few of those comments. Locowise wrote:
One of the biggest mistakes you can make as a brand on Facebook is to disable the ability for visitors to publish posts on your page or to remove the comments. This is because Facebook has incredible potential and benefits for any brand, and these far outweigh any rationale behind not letting people post or removing negative comments.
The best approach from the outset is to take on the challenge of negative comments and focus on positive ways to manage them (unless, of course, they are racist or offensive, or a legal issue).
What’s more, people will start to get a little annoyed if they aren’t allowed to comment freely. And if you have a dedicated fan base, this becomes even more of an issue. If that fan base sees that you aren’t allowing comments for your content, it will begin to see you as a closed shop. You are meant to engage, and the very best brands in the world are open and honest, no matter how big they are.
Locowise suggested three steps for dealing with negative comments.
- Acknowledgement: Brands must let users know that their comments have been seen, even if they can’t be immediately addressed. Locowise suggested a reply similar to this one: “We have received your comment and have taken note of your concerns. We will be in touch shortly to address the issue.” The company added that quick responses show other Facebook users that the brand cares about its customers and potential customers.
- Don’t be afraid to apologize, if necessary: Locowise believes that when an apology is appropriate, it will go a long way toward portraying the brand as positive and caring, and the company suggested that rather than using a generic statement, brands should “create a sincere, genuine apology and post it as soon as possible.”
- Take it offline: Rather than debating an issue on Facebook for all to see, Locowise suggested that page admins make arrangements to deal with angry users via private messages, adding that other users can see that the brand is responding to the matter, but they will not see the entire back-and-forth.
Locowise also said page admins with strong communities can ignore some comments, with the hopes that their users will address the negativity, and the company addressed when the hammer of banning users should actually be dropped:
This is not to be followed as a course of action unless there has been real hatred of the worst kind. We’re talking racial slurs or offensive material that is designed to hurt, harm or offend. Again, as a brand, you probably won’t be facing this kind of rubbish on a daily basis, but if you do and it is genuinely hurtful and offensive, get it banned.
A word about the offensive stuff: You really don’t want nasty stuff on your feed and neither does your customer base. Delete anything that is offensive, and that’s the bottom line. Turn on the “profanity filter” in your Facebook page settings. Add words you’d like to block from comments and posts.
You can also use the opportunity to then ban the person from your page and report the person to Facebook and get them out of the picture. This is perfectly acceptable, and it is actually a sign that a brand is looking at its content and thinking about its fan base.
Imagine it from a customer’s point of view for a second: They hit up your feed and then start to see nasty words, offensive comments about race or gender or anything like that. What picture does it paint of your brand?
Page admins: What steps have you taken to deal with negative comments on your pages?
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