Establishing a social media presence opens you up to receiving feedback from your customers, which is both a blessing and a curse. It gives you the opportunity to hear what your fans love the most about your company, but it also leaves you vulnerable to some not so nice comments. Many of the social media tools you manage offer you the ability to delete these negative comments, but that’s not always the best customer service strategy. Let’s review when it’s okay to delete comments on your social media platforms and when it’s best to leave them up.
Hit Delete When…
The Comment is Offensive to Others:
When a comment is racist or otherwise offensive to any of your audience members, be sure to delete it as soon as possible. Leaving it up, even if you don’t agree, can reflect poorly on your business. If the commenter is making a valid point, be sure to send him or her a private message addressing the concerns and explaining why the comment was deleted. If the comment is irrelevant, simply remove it.
The Comment is Highly Political:
Discussions of politics have their place, but (in most cases) that place is not your businesses Facebook or LinkedIn page. Neutral points regarding how new legislation or elections will affect your industry are acceptable, irate babbling about specific politicians or parties is not. Be sure to take these conversations out of the public eye so as not to alienate customers.
The Comment is Inappropriate:
Here’s a rule of thumb – if you wouldn’t want your children reading the comment, delete it. This includes both crude and suggestive language. For instance, a conversation took place between two users in the comments of a post on one of our client’s Facebook page regarding whether or not these individuals had spent intimate time in the bathroom. Though one party assured the other that this was not the place she was thinking of, this conversation is clearly inappropriate for public audiences and all comments involved were removed immediately.
The Comment is Spam:
If you have no idea what a user is trying to say and the comment does not relate to your business in the slightest, the comment is likely spam. Go ahead and delete these posts, especially if they include sketchy links.
Leave It Up When…
The Comment is Negative but Civil:
Many customers who choose to air their grievances on businesses’ social media pages do so in a very civilized manner. These customers deserve to have their voices heard. Not only should you leave these comments up, you should respond to them apologizing for the customers’ perceived bad experiences and ask how you can make it up to them.
The Comment Mentions a Competitor:
You may be tempted to remove comments such as, “The chowder is so much better at XYC Restaurant,” but resist the urge. Instead, invite that commenter to stop in and try another dish. Not only does this show that you’re not a poor sport, it gives your fans a chance to come in and defend you. You’d be surprised at the amount of support your followers will provide in situations like this.
Remember it is better to have conversation on tools you have more control over than for an individual to start complaining on platforms you do not control, such as Yelp.
In the end, it is your choice what comments you’d like to be associated with your business on social media. However, following these basic rules will allow you to weed out the comments that should absolutely be removed from those that spark conversation and give you the chance to win over potentially lost customers.