Seldom do we see companies operating without incorporating some aspect of social into their customer experiences. Establishing a social media presence attracts more eyes and opens brands up to receiving insightful feedback, good or bad. Using these platforms allows you to see what your consumers enjoy, but also can leave you vulnerable to criticism.
It’s important for any business to establish a social response strategy surrounding how engagement should be handled with user comments. Once these rules of engagement have been identified, companies should remain consistent and measure the effectiveness of their social responses. Identifying what works and what doesn’t will help team members avoid any gray areas and easily identify when to engage, when to ignore and, ultimately, when to remove comments.
When To Engage With Social Comments
Staying active on your platforms is key, and that starts with maintaining a consistent presence with quick, frequent and personable responses. Positive or negative, it’s important to engage with your audience.
Let’s start with the good news first. When it comes to someone leaving a positive comment on your site, take advantage!
Have fun with it — Engaging with positive comments is a brand’s opportunity to show their personality, build meaningful connections with their viewers and gradually establish loyal customers.
Say thank you — Remembering to thank the person for taking the time to comment seems simple, but it’s extremely important, as it reinforces your commitment to engaging with consumers.
Questions are a good sign — When a user asks you a question, they’ve shown they are interested enough in your brand to engage in what you’re saying. Use this opportunity to address the question and open the dialogue up to other consumers.
And now, the not-so-fun part, because negative comments unfortunately, are inevitable. It’s vital every business understands when it is appropriate to engage and when it is time to go a different route:
Ask how you can improve — Show consumers you care about their opinions, take their feedback to heart and demonstrate how you are always looking to better your company as a whole.
Apologies can go a long way — Many times, people just want to feel heard. If a company has made a mistake, this is the time to own it. Be human, address it and then move on.
Don’t let emotions derail you — It’s important to keep in mind, everyone will see your response, not just the user you are replying to. Think before you respond. It’s easy to get emotional about a negative comment, it shows you’re passionate about your brand. But take the time to answer with a clear, level head. No sense it adding more fuel to the fire.
Take if offline — Whenever you can, invite the commenter to send a private message or email so your team can handle the matter on a one-on-one basis.
When To Ignore Social Comments
Some commenters will never be satisfied. In these instances, a response can do more harm than good. Avoid engaging in a ping pong match. If someone is looking for a debate, entertaining the back and forth won’t be beneficial to your brand.
If you have responded once with clear, accurate details and the commenter replies with the same statement, this is the time to step away. If you’re certain the claims are without merit, reiterate your point and leave it alone.
As we know, social media is a very public platform, so commenting once to clearly state the inaccuracy of negative comments will show your business’s side to other viewers that could be reading.
When To Remove Social Comments
Transparency is always the ultimate goal, but there will be instances when a comment needs to be removed. In these cases, it’s equally as important to delete a comment as it is to engage with your audience.
The comment is offensive or threatening — It goes without saying, but racial, derogatory or threatening comments should not be tolerated under any circumstance. Businesses should remove foul comments from their pages and consider blocking the user from commenting to avoid further issues.
Spam messages — If it looks like spam, it’s probably spam. In the event that you identify a comment as a spam post, it is acceptable to delete, as they serve no real purpose for your place of business and ultimately distract consumers from your brand.
The comment is highly political — There is a time and place to discuss politics, but in most cases, that place is not your business’s page. Neutral points that tie back to your industry are acceptable, but when it becomes a heated discussion surrounding specific politicians or parties, it’s time to remove.
The comment is inappropriate — A good rule to follow: if you wouldn’t want your children reading the comment, delete it. Crude and suggestive language is clearly inappropriate for public audiences and calls for an immediate deletion.
What it really boils down to is this: trust your gut, use your best judgement and never rush to action. If used correctly, social platforms can be a tremendous benefit to the growth and reputation of a brand.