You would be hard pressed to find a non-profit organization, business, or public official that doesn’t already have a social media presence, these days. The following scenario will be familiar to most, but addressing the topic of comment management is worthwhile for social media veterans and neophytes, alike.
Very simply put, your social media startup experience may look something like this. New accounts are created, new content is generated, and “Likes” begin to rise. But as your social media reach expands and your posts go “viral,” you’ll inevitably notice a steady increase in negative comments alongside all of the positive indications that your messaging is hitting its mark.
So in your role as your firm’s social media guru, your organization’s public relations manager, or your campaign’s messaging director, you have yet another decision to make: How do you decide when to delete or when to engage?
Social media has opened up a new front in the battle for public opinion. Comment sections present consumers and voters with a very public platform for sharing their thoughts, complaints, and concerns. While the initial reaction to negative feedback is immediate removal, don’t be so quick to dismiss tough questions and critical comments.
Here are three guidelines to remember when dealing with negative comments:
1) Approach negativity with humble strength. Be willing to correct mistakes and deliver on promises, while sticking to your convictions and principles. Thank the commenter for participating in the conversation, while acknowledging and identifying with their passion for the issue at hand.
2) Don’t get pulled into an argument. We would all be wise to accept that there are people out there who will never purchase our product, support our cause, or vote for our candidate. Only engage when the conversation stands to be furthered in a manner that is reasonable, respectful and profanity-free.
3) Be diligent in your comment management efforts. It can be a challenge finding time to manage responses in addition to generating new daily content, but there is value in snuffing out sparks as they pop up. Today’s isolated complaint doesn’t have to become tomorrow’s widespread crisis.
Next time, before you click “Hide”, “Delete” or “Ban” recognize that you may have been presented with an opportunity to eliminate an enemy by turning them into a new ally.