Watch Their Language: Policing Comments on Your Social Media Sites
The comments sections of your online sites can be quickly compromised. 7 tips on keeping them clean.
Complaining to a vendor about a product used to takesome effort. You had to find a piece of paper and an envelope, write a letter, find the company’s address and a stamp, and mail it off. Or at least hunt for a phone number and make a call.
Not anymore. You know how easy it is for your customers to file a complaint with you. And these days, it can be seen by many, many people, not just the person who happens to open the envelope.
Be on the Alert
What is now easy for the public has made your customer service work a lot more challenging. You have to be vigilant about the comments that people leave on your social media sites.
Don’t get me wrong: It’s good to have comments on your blogs or social media venues. They illustrate that people are reading your work and caring enough to respond. And they help you get to know your audience better. But here are some things I try to be conscientious about in my constant efforts to minimize the negativity:
- If you can’t moderate your sites regularly, don’t allow comments. You don’t always have control over that, but when you do, shut your comments sections down unless you’re going to be watching them like a hawk.
- Delegate this important work if you must. Maybe you simply don’t have time to keep monitoring your feedback. Ask a trusted associate to take this on, or spread the work out among several of them.
- Handle complaints gracefully. This isn’t always easy, depending on your mood when the grievance appears and its decibel level. But when one comes in, act quickly and graciously. Provide a contact point for the individual, and handle it away from the site. Use private messaging wherever possible, but do leave evidence near the original post indicating that you’re responding to it so that other readers can see that.
- Resolve the problem publicly when you can. If the comment may be something that other readers might bring up, post a general reply addressing the issue. But don’t let yourself be dragged into a long, drawn-out comment thread.
- Delete outright insults and spam immediately. Your readers will probably recognize an unwarranted snark, but don’t leave negative verbiage that can linger in their minds. Competitors may even try to invade your space to do just that.
- Never argue publicly on a social media venue. Often, the complainer is misinformed or incorrect or just not that bright. Or it’s someone who wants to goad you into a less-than-friendly response. Don’t let sparring mar your personal image or your brand.
- Block repeat offenders. You have every right to ban visitors who have earned a swift kick.
I think that the ability to send and receive comments on social media sites is one of the ten best characteristics of those social selling tools. But try your best to keep the conversations civil and positive.