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Best Practices for Moderating Comments on Social Media
So you started a Facebook Page for your brand. You’re ready to connect with your brand’s biggest fans, share interesting content and promote specials. That’s all good and well, but are you ready to deal with your brand’s critics? If you’re operating a social media channel, you need to be.
Have no fear, we’ve outlined some of our social media moderation best practices below.
- Prepare a policy and flowchart for how you will deal with comments. Before you start any new social channel, your brand should have an internal policy for how it will deal with comments (both negative and positive), who will answer questions and comments and what, if any, content your brand will remove from its page. Once this is set: STICK WITH IT. Consistency is key when it comes to moderating a social community.
- Consider if you need professional help. Brands big and small turn to outside parties (like, ahem, Covalent Logic) to help create content for their social channels and moderate and respond to comments on their behalf. If you have a small staff or a big community, getting help from a third-party social media professional can help manage your brand’s online reputation. (Email us!)
- Familiarize yourself with each channel’s controls. Every social media channel has different features and rules, so you’ll need different strategies for each. Facebook allows you to band certain words (like curse words) or to control if people can post on your page. Twitter has a block function for followers who get offensive. While these tools should be used sparingly and with purpose, they can help keep order in your social sphere.
- Explain why you are deleting comments. If something is negative and needs to be deleted, post in the comments as your brand explaining why you’re taking it down. On Facebook, you can do this by responding directly to a comment explaining why it is being deleted. Wait a minute (to allow Facebook to send the email notification that you have responded to the comment) and then delete both the original comment and your response. The original commenter will be notified of why you had to delete the content.
- Take contentious conversations OFF of social. Provide a form or email to someone who is complaining so that you can have someone from your brand contact them directly. Reply to their negative comment by saying something like, “So sorry to hear you are having problems! Would you mind sending your information to XXXXX@email.com so someone can reach out to you?” This way you get to have a difficult conversation in “private” and other followers see that you are responsive to concerns.
- Respond to ALL comments, when practical. Many times we worry about negative comments and don’t have a plan to engage with someone who is praising our brand. Consider responding with funny or cute “thank you” comments back to praise so people understand a person is reading their comments.
- Don’t feed the trolls. In Internet-speak a “troll” is someone who posts comments for the sole reason of causing trouble or offending people. These people can take up a lot of your time. Once you’ve engaged initially and been rebuffed, save yourself some sanity and end the conversation. If the person escalates or becomes offensive, consider if you need to delete the comments or ban the poster.