How to Effectively Manage Critics, Trolls and Spammers on Facebook Pages

The following is an excerpt from our Facebook Marketing Bible. The full version contains detailed strategies for dealing with each type of disruptive commenter and three more key tactics for making your Page an inviting community.

A well-managed Facebook Page allows businesses of all sizes to build a large and engaged community of fans, many of which can and will become loyal customers and advocates of the brand if nurtured correctly and consistently.

As your Page grows in popularity and starts to attract hundreds and thousands of Likes it will also begin to see unwelcome attention from the less-savory members of larger online communities – critics, trolls and spammers. While this is a largely unavoidable side effect of popularity, Page administrators can take steps to ensure that these kinds of members are controlled and removed.

Know Your Enemy

Critics – Critics are commenters that hurt a brand’s image by filling its Page wall with negative assessments of the brand’s identity, products, or services. They can be difficult to identify and manage, as they can veer between being your biggest fan to most outspoken naysayer from one moment to the next.

Trolls – A troll is someone who consistently posts inflammatory, negative and disruptive messages to your Facebook Page, with the sole intent of provoking an emotional reaction amongst the other members of your community. Trolls differ from critics in that they usually have no actual interest in the brand’s products and services, but are simply there to cause problems.

Spammers – The rate of spam that is posted on any given Facebook Page is exponentially linked to the number of Likes that it has. While Facebook’s spam filters will do their best to identify and move spam to your Wall’s hidden wall tab, this is at best a hit-and-miss affair and some spam will get through

Admins can employ the following tactics to ensure that their Page is optimized to recognize and manage problem users.

1. Create a Customized Page Rules Tab

One of the smartest things all Facebook Page Admins can and should do as soon as possible is implement a customized Page rules tab that clearly lists the behavioral expectations of members of the community.

Coca Cola’s House Rules is one example of how this can be done.

This tab will give you something to point to if users ask why they or someone else was banned. The tab is also likely to make all community members who see it more civil.

2. Take It To Email

Facebook Pages do not provide any kind of private messaging system, but sometimes a customer needs to be engaged on a one-to-one basis, and the best way to do this is to recommend directly to them that they contact you via email. This has numerous benefits – the customer can speak more freely, you can provide a more personal level of support and if the matter gets heated it doesn’t have to be a public affair.

If you feel that a customer has a legitimate enquiry but that public correspondence might become disruptive to the Facebook Page or even damage the reputation of the brand, it’s good advice to move things to email as soon as possible. Reply to their comment with your customer support email address or another email address they can reach you at and kindly ask them to follow up with you via email.

If you have made the decision to have a brand presence on Facebook then the business of moderating your Page needs to be taken seriously, with the correct level of resources made available to meet the expectations of your fans as the Page grows in size and stature.

The rest of our strategies for handling disruptive commenters and improving the civility of conversation on your Facebook Page can be found in the Facebook Marketing Bible, Inside Network’s comprehensive guide to marketing and advertising through Facebook.