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.

 

Using Cheat Sheets to Improve Social Response Time

I recently posted about companies hiding from their customers on social media. The story raises the single biggest challenge for organizations: how to meet the demands of responding to customers on social media. No matter the size of your business, you can shorten response time with a few simple cheat sheets.

Make A Standard Responses Document

When I first started working with one of my clients, they had all sorts of “standard” answers to questions which were asked over and over again, but they weren’t in a single place. Some were at the receptionist desk, some were used in H.R., others were used by an operations team.  The language, the approvals, the legwork had all been done! Many of these responses could be applied to some of their social media channels BUT, these tools were not really formatted for social media networks. By creating a standard document, everyone who manages your networks can access information quickly.

Here’s a quick example I remember from a nonprofit I counseled. They got numerous calls from people offering to volunteer, but they had a lot of guidelines and training for specific jobs in this organization. Once we gathered them all, we created brief answers tailored for Facebook and Twitter AND created a dedicated web page with more detail which could be used over and over.

graphic of FAQ page on Freshbooks website

Great example of an FAQ From Freshbooks

Build an FAQ

It sounds like a big project if you do it all at once, but you can build it over time, just like the standard responses document. It might even use some of the material from a Standard Responses Document, especially if you find 2-3 questions which come up all the time. Drop your responses into a text document or in the CMS of your blog.  Before too long, you’ve formed responses for questions you get over and over again. Now, publish it and save the link to point people there quickly.  The screen grab to the left is an example of a great FAQ from my accounting program provider, Freshbooks which you can explore further here.  Another great FAQ is from the learning platform we use at Northwest Vista College, Canvas.

Create A Link Library

What is a link library? It’s another cheat sheet to quickly pull appropriate links to which you want to point your customers.  Let’s say you already know that you will point people to the main portion of your web site, but sometimes you will send them to a contact form or to that FAQ you just built.  I like to drop the full link into an Excel or Google sheet and then shorten each of those links for tracking purposes. That way, you can show how much traffic you’re sending directly to your company’s channels.

Using cheat sheets allows you to spend time on the tone and voice you need to achieve in customer service without agonizing over finding the background for each answer on the fly. What do you use to save time on your customer outreach?

Related Post: Are You Hiding From Your Customers?

Are You Hiding From Your Customers?

Are You Hiding From Your Customers GraphicWhile social media has enabled widespread conversations between brands and their customers, for some organizations, it’s also an opportunity to hide behind social channels.  These organizations are still struggling with how to manage the 24/7 nature of online customer service.  Here are some signs that you may be hiding from your customers:

  1. You never have humans answer the phone– all calls go to voice mail.
  2. You do not respond to Facebook posts or Twitter feeds or use any social listening platforms.
  3. There’s no obvious contact method on your website or it’s buried at the bottom.

Are Customer Expectations Changing or Just Changing Channels?

But customers expect you to be there and many expect a response from you when something goes wrong. Some expect you to respond within 30 minutes and, according to the Sprout Social blog, 26% of consumers post a negative comment on social networking sites after less than stellar customer service.

“Customer service is not about speed. It’s about expectations and satisfaction. For businesses, setting and managing customer expectations may be the single most important step to improve customer service,” says Alan Berkson in a recent post on Social Media Today.

A third example, in a recent infographic by KISSMetrics, shows that the majority of customers still want a response within one day. This makes doing customer service via social media very manageable for many organizations.

Customers Still Want to Be Heard

Customers still want to know that someone hears their problem. And if you can respond by saying “I’m working on it” within a day, your organization will stand out.  Look at all your digital sites and see how can make them more obvious. Is it a form, a button, a phone number or an email? How about using all of them? Now you are on the road to being more visible with your customers.

Related Post: Using Cheat Sheets to Cut Social Response Time