I was chatting with a friend the other day about a comment she didn’t like on a Facebook post. She told me “Well I didn’t like it, so I removed it.” I asked if the comment was especially negative, off-topic or otherwise offensive and she stated that no, she just didn’t like it. This really struck a cord for me, and not in the most positive way.
For social media to be “social” there has to be dialog – Two way dialog. My policies often include never removing negative comments or “opinions” unless they are purposefully nasty to the blog author, advertise irrelevant products or are somehow derogatory in nature. Certainly this leaves room for interpretation, however I feel strongly that everyone has a voice and that voice should be heard so long as it is respectful of whatever policies are in place.
Simply removing a negative opinion often “fires up” the individual who made the comment. It’s like adding fuel to the fire and can cause you to get burnt in the long run. So my advice is to simply leave the comment where it is and respond directly to the post.
Here are a few brief things you can do to address a negative comment on your social media outlets.
- Take control before things spin out-of-control and address comments head-on.
- Be respectful to those posting the comments; Always take the high-road and be sincere in your response.
- Address comments as quickly as possible – A good rule of thumb is to respond to Facebook or blog posts within 24-hours or to Twitter within a few hours.
- Personalize how you respond using the individuals name if at all possible. Don’t use terms like “valued customer”. If the writer used an alias to hide their identity, use that name in your response.
- Follow-up to the comment in other ways. Can you call the individual? Email them? Respond with a personal message on Facebook?
- And most importantly don’t hide your head in the sand and hope it will go away. It won’t!
When considering social media censorship, remember to be proactive by creating a social media policy ahead of time to guide you and your team should a situation arise. At that point you can ensure discussions remain within the parameters you have set and can enforce the policy regarding offensive posts and comments.