Facebook can be fun. Yesterday was a community member, commentator, and today you’re already a professional managing a brand account. In this work, not only engaging activities to build a fan community, telling stories of maturity await you, but also situations where you feel miserable. Meeting and greeting new fans and customers on a daily basis is usually nice, but some of them are “trolls and hater”. For them, angry, malicious comments are gratifying. There are also good people who have questions, have complaints, or share negative experiences. The whole flow is like trying your patience, especially at the end of a long and intense day. Familiar situation? We have to disappoint you that this will always be the case – angry, funny, hard-to-manage fans and customers will not go away. By the way, there will be your mistakes, because “stuff happens”!
Many years of practice have helped us systematize the principles of how to manage negative comments. We hope you find the insights useful.
Create and publish your own social media policy
A social media policy is a recommendation you create to let fans know what is allowed and what is not acceptable on your Facebook page. It sets clear boundaries and identifies potential problems. It may be helpful to post your policies or communication rules in the “About” section of the page. Understandably, your fans will never visit and be interested in the rules, but you can always put a link in response to negative comments! This will spread the message to the whole community that not everything is acceptable and tolerable. You’ll also avoid instant subjectivity, as if you’ve just come up with the idea that one or another comment isn’t appropriate.
Pick up the conversation from the public page
When it comes to negative comments, it’s not always clear where the conversation will lead. The last thing you want to see is a “bursting of scrap”, which is finally being thrown by new commentators, forgetting even where it all started. A great way to avoid this is to invite the interlocutor to correspondence e. email or Messenger gadget. The individual conversation takes place differently, calmer, specific reasoned statements, less emotion in finding a solution, and so on.
Agree on a comment procedure / internal rules
Do simple homework. No need to wait for the Facebook page manager to find questions and comments that keep repeating. Implementing an efficient process for managing them will save you a lot of time. A simple solution would be to create a separate document listing the most commonly used answers, explanations related to, for example, product quality, production, etc. process and so on. We suggest including the most frequently asked links, describing the process you use to respond to an angry comment, scenarios, decisions, and your plan for who handles what (and when) to ensure effective and consistent handling of the issues that really arise. Such a pre-prepared document saves time, helps to avoid mistakes, allows you to react more calmly, without tension. Many are familiar with a situation where after a negative, especially unjustifiably critical comment, a frequent manager already sees a crisis, a threat to maturity, then everyone rushes to think who is responding, who is commenting, who claims the answer is right – a chain of unproductive actions.
Respond professionally – every time!
We know the saying “The customer is always right”. Well, the customer is not always right (but the customer is still the customer). On social networks, we meet people who oppose and find it difficult to deal with. Some will try to test your patience, but you should always remain professional when responding to comments. If you lose touch with someone, it is your brand that will suffer. Facebook is a public platform. It may seem like you’re talking to one person, but it’s not.
When answering in detail, delve into the situation, what the context is, what the employees say, what the circumstances are, and so on. The customer may still be unhappy, but feel free to say you did everything you could. For example, a customer complains that he has not been served for a long time, is frustrated by the seller’s point of view, and an inquiry reveals that the seller has solved another customer’s problem.
Whatever you do, don’t accept negative comments in person. This is a business and there will always be some fans who fail to please.
Never ignore comments!
Despite negative comments on Facebook, they won’t go away – it can even generate even more negativity. If you don’t have an exact answer, or maybe you don’t even have one – a bad emotion doesn’t even need arguments – that doesn’t mean you should ignore the comment.
The best way to combat negative comments is to let fans know you’re interested in the situation and that you’ll contact them as soon as you have more information. This lets the commenter and the entire community know that you care.
Another important thing is to make sure you respond as quickly as possible. Aim to answer all questions within 6 hours (even if you just want to let the person know that you are still investigating the request).
Don’t be afraid to delete
Sounds cruel. However, there are situations where you have to completely remove fans from your page when they ignore your social media policy and cross the line.
This can prove counterproductive, after all, you want to make strong connections with as many fans as possible, right? However, this depends on the situation…
If you have fans who harass others, are rude to employees in their comments, or otherwise show disrespect for your page, then you have the right to delete those comments and prevent the person from participating. Depending on the situation, you can first issue a warning and be given the opportunity to admit that you misbehaved.
Fortunately, it is seldom necessary to block something, but it is never worth caring about a commentator who is poisoning the environment.
Admit the mistake
To build the greatest possible trust and authenticity with your Facebook fans, don’t be afraid to apologize. We all make mistakes. Instead of trying to disguise a mistake, it’s better to be open and confess. Your fans will not judge you for it, they will appreciate your honesty and humility. Also, it’s better for YOU to post a bug than for others to see and point it out to you. Honesty, openness in the first place and can help avoid negative comments.