How To Handle Negative and Irrelevant Comments on Facebook

Image of keyboard with finger on delete Should you ever hide Facebook posts?

When you are managing Facebook pages, it is likely you will have to answer this question. In the process of managing Facebook pages for numerous organizations, this is a common occurrence. Some comments should be ignored. Some comments deserve a response. Others should be hidden or deleted.  What should you do? Here are four comment types from my channel management experience and potential actions you can take to handle on your company pages.

Comment Type Number 1: Negative

This type of comment is critical or negative but is relevant to the reputation of the organization. It may involve an unhappy customer or a comment about a policy or process of the company. For this type of comment, it’s important to do three things, verify, escalate, resolve.

First, verify that the comment comes from a real person or real organization by clicking through to the commenters’ Facebook profile.  If it appears real, the next step would be to escalate to your client or internal management team to develop an answer.  Finally, create and post the response.

Comment Type Number 2: Irrelevant

This type of comment is also critical of the organization but is different in that it is irrelevant to the post.  This requires a more subtle answer.  If you respond too quickly or with a formal statement, you might uncover a bully or troll waiting to engage.  Monitoring additional comments for a few hours is the first line of defense. If you have loyal and engaged fans on that page, they might chime in and redirect the conversation.

If that doesn’t happen, hide the comment — only the commenter and their friends see it. We once hid a comment from somebody’s mom who made a favorable comment about her daughter’s photo appearing there and then kept asking where all the “other people” were coming from.  She was clearly new to Facebook, so we hid it to keep the embarrassment to a minimum.

To consider deleting the post or comment takes a little more time and thought.  If it’s a “drive-by” commenter that may or may not return, we sometimes wait 48-72 hours and if no further action comes from this type of commenter, we then consider deleting it.

Comment Type Number 3: Unreasonable

This type of comment is often rude and inflamed. It might go right up to the brink of Comment Type Number 4 below. In this scenario, we spend extra time monitoring the post and other comments on it to see the progression of the conversation. There are three different actions you can take:  hide the comment, delete the post and ban the user. The strategy leading up to the actions on this type of comment are similar to that for irrelevant comments.

Comment Type Number 4: Violates Policy

Whether it’s a violation of Facebook’s terms of service or a violation of YOUR social media policy, this type of comment includes name-calling or swearing. It can also be a post in which another person or page tries to sell something on your page. This is unacceptable for many company pages and should be deleted.  If the post or comment has gotten widespread views before it’s been deleted, it might merit an explanation about why it was removed. This will enhance the company’s engagement and integrity with  fans, but if it’s disgusting or pornographic, no explanation should be necessary and deleting and banning the user makes the channel managers’ job easier as these types of posters tend to be repeat offenders.

Smart channel managers know that managing your Facebook community includes making judgement calls on how to respond to comments by a wide variety of fans.  Next time you get a comment that is critical, irrelevant, unreasonable or is a clear violation of policy, try these ideas.  Let us know how it worked by leaving a comment.