Managing Facebook Negative Comments: Don’t Feed the Trolls

by | Apr 6, 2016 | Social Media Marketing Tips

Managing Facebook Negative CommentsIf you’re like some online marketers, you may be concerned about bad Facebook juju – negative postings. In fact, we know that some marketers are so wary of dealing with negative postings that they steer clear of Facebook altogether.

Well, fear not. This week’s article is all about handling Facebook haters. Most of these ideas are in this great article by Chris Smith at Marketing Land.. But it’s a little long, so I’ll lighten it up for you and add some context.

As long-tail marketers working in the fringe areas of your franchise space, you know that a lively conversation is healthy and something we shouldn’t shy away from. Debate, discussion, and even controversy are good. When the conversation is happening on your Facebook page, it can result in very high engagement, typically what we’re looking for on Facebook. In most cases, having the conversation on your Facebook page is much more advantageous than an unhappy customer posting elsewhere, where it’s beyond our reach. A negative posting on Ripoff Report or Yelp can haunt your search results for years.

Managing Facebook Negative Comments

Responding to and resolving a customer complaint on Facebook in a timely, responsible manner goes a long way towards positive online reputation management. Everyone makes mistakes, so owning them and fixing them publicly on Facebook can quickly turn the tide in your favor.

While it might be tempting to jump in and respond to every comment or criticism, sometimes it’s best to let things play out on their own. You may be pleasantly surprised at how others respond and the direction the conversation takes.  In fact, often your best fans will provide better, more unbiased responses that are like gold.

So how do you build these fan/advocate networks? The first strategy (and partly free one) is to ensure your existing customers and readers are aware of your page and encouraged to become a fan. You can email them inviting them to like your page. And be sure to include links on confirmation pages when they first join your list. Give them some incentive, like competitions or free reports. Make it clear that they’ll be getting additional content you won’t always be able to email them.

Next, it’s worth considering fan building campaigns with Facebook ads. You can target your customers in this way. They should be cheap (since they already know you they should respond well) and will be great advocates for you…commenting positively and sharing your content too.

So try to let the conversation flow if you can. But maybe you can’t. Maybe the conversation is getting a little out of hand, or maybe there are legal considerations. Some businesses (health, for example) have to carefully moderate postings to make sure statements don’t exceed the boundaries of what’s legally acceptable. Don’t worry…we have some ideas for this too. So let’s get to it…

bright ideas

Hiding negative comments:  Sometimes a dialogue takes a turn for the worse, an angry customer gets malicious or abusive, it could be any number of scenarios. On personal pages, you can simply delete the post. But on business pages, there’s another option. You can ‘hide’ the post, which means that no one else will see the post, except the person who posted it. It’s hidden from the rest of the public. Pretty useful, huh? You can still choose to delete it entirely, but you may not want to since hiding it accomplishes the same thing and may not add to the wrath of the already upset poster.

Banning specific keywords:  This allows you to prevent specific words from appearing in your postings, which can be very effective in certain areas such as health, where we want to avoid people posting words like ‘cure’, ‘miracle’, ‘cancer’, etc. Posts containing the keywords you’ve banned will be hidden, as in the scenario described above. The person posting will still see it, but no one else. Be sure to include alternative spellings of the words you’re banning, for the wise guys who may catch on to what you’re doing and try to trick the system.

Moderating/reviewing visitor posts and comments to your page:  Facebook differentiates between visitor comments and posts, although comments are posted. In any case, there are ways to review all of these before they’re posted on your page. This might be necessary for some businesses, but it could mean a lot of work and even a dedicated team to monitor and review. The details and strategies are in the full article here. Just be aware that there are viable options for managing comments and posts. So if this is what’s keeping you from getting involved in Facebook, this could be your answer!

Blacklisting haters:  You may have tried some of the options mentioned here, but you still have an unhappy camper who won’t go away. There are a couple different ways to unfriend or ban people. Hopefully you won’t need to do this frequently, if at all.

Turning off tagging on your page:  This may not be a big deal for your business. But just so you know, you can disable everyone from tagging photos, except people who manage your page.

Banning abusive posters:  Likely you’ll rarely need to do this. But if someone goes over the top and becomes abusive, threatening or otherwise inappropriate, you can report them to Facebook. Facebook may suspend or delete their account.

Temporarily unpublish your page:  If mob mentality sets in and your page is taking a beating, you may decide to unpublish your page, making it invisible to everyone. Obviously this is an extreme measure, only to be taken as a last resort.  With the ability to hide comments, moderate posts and not allow tagging, you should be able to avoid this scenario entirely.

Think of it this way — we wouldn’t consider stopping our email campaigns every time someone complained or unsubscribed. We certainly wouldn’t be in business very long if we did. The same holds true for Facebook. With so many options for handling Facebook customer postings, it’s very doable to customize a program to fit your business and get you up and running on Facebook. Feel free to reach out to anyone on the AIM team if we can help.