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Later, Haters: 4 Tips for Social Monitoring

We read them. We laugh at them. And sometimes we even post them. But if you’re a social media manager, snarky Facebook comments can seem like a nightmare in monitoring hell.

So how do you keep a comment section from looking like a KATC thread gone wrong? Here are some pointers that will make your life easier:

1.  Set comment guidelines, even if no one follows them.

Before you begin posting content, draft a comment policy, and post it in a public tab that all viewers can easily access. Some common rules in comment policies include no obscenities, no spam and no solicitation of goods or services. However, the types of guidelines you add will depend on the type of business you run. A page that features family friendly content probably doesn’t want comments with expletives, but a page like Buzzfeed probably wouldn’t blink twice.

Because this is the Internet we’re talking about, there’s a large possibility that people will totally ignore your guidelines. But believe it or not, that’s okay. Even if the comment policy does not prevent all negative feedback, it will help you decide which comments need to be removed and which ones should be ignored.

Pro-Tip: You want people to feel like they’re welcome to voice their (rational, non-racist and non-hateful) thoughts. Be sure to only hide or delete comments that clearly violate your comment policy. If you choose to take action against all comments, your fans may take their contrary opinions and organic engagement to a competitor’s page.

2.  Don’t air your dirty laundry in front of other users.

If a user is unhappy with a transaction involving your brand, there’s a high chance they will voice their frustrations on your page. This is especially true for brands that sell goods or services. When this happens on your page, ask yourself if this is an issue you can solve off Facebook.

While replying to comments is an effective tool for good customer service, it’s not the only one. Try asking a user to message, email or call you before potentially going head-to-head with an unsatisfied customer in a public thread.

Pro-Tip: If your page frequently encounters customer-service related comments, a pre-written response could be helpful in saving time and keeping tone consistent, especially if your page is operated by a team. Below is a starter example that can be easily adapted for any brand. Tweak it to fit your brand’s personality and tone:

@Person’s name, we’re sorry to hear that. Please contact us at 555.555.555 so we can help resolve this issue.

3.  Defend the objective. Ignore the subjective. 

On your own Facebook, you may feel the need to reply to every negative comment. But arguing about who Rory should have ended up with at the end of Gilmore Girls is not the same as communicating with hundreds of potential customers and brand ambassadors. When faced with many negative comments, remember to pick your battles carefully.

A good rule of thumb is to only intervene when a commenter is objectively questioning or commenting on the accuracy of your content. If it can be proven that your content is right, feel free to roast your commenter with some facts (politely, of course). After all, you don’t want other users to think you’re misinformed on a topic. However, if another user has already done the defending for you, there’s no need to chime in and risk having the original commenter feel attacked.

On the other hand, don’t get involved with negative opinions. A commenter thinks your content is dumb? C’est la vie. Ignore it and move on. You can’t prove their opinion is right or wrong, so why argue over it?

Pro-Tip: If your content includes fact-based material like “Did You Knows,” keep your sources bookmarked or linked in your strategy. You never know when you may need to school some fools (again, politely).

4.  Don’t break up with users unless it’s necessary.

There’s no need to stress out about users who occasionally post undesirable comments. But what should you do about users who consistently break your comment policy?

I believe banning is a feature that should only be reserved for extreme cases. Unless a user is attacking other commenters or spreading misinformation about your brand in the comments, you should rely solely on the “hide comment” and “delete comment” features.

Pro-Tip: If you do decide to ban a user, some follow-up work may be necessary. Yes, I’m talking stalking. Go on your personal profile and see if the banned user has made any public posts about your Facebook page that could be harmful to your brand. Creepy, but helpful.

Did we miss something? Comment below with YOUR tips.