In most cases, Facebook can be a delightful asset to your company, generating goodwill between you and your customers or generating strong leads that allow the inbound marketing strategy to fall perfectly into place. However, at times, Facebook can breed negativity.
When that happens, you don’t want to waste time being unprepared.
Be calm, professional, and empathetic
The immediate response to these situations shouldn’t be to slam the abort button but rather to take a lighter, more personal approach. Sometimes, social media acts as a “lightning rod” for conflict and crisis.
If the gentle touch response doesn’t work, move the conversation to a more private setting by simply asking the offender to directly message you. This gets the conflict away from the public view while still finding a solution.
The disappearing act
If a resolution is not what your commenter is looking for and instead, they are searching for conflict, you have the option of hiding crude comments. This should only be done as a last resort to mean-spirited comments, not constructive criticism. This can be done on an individual basis by clicking the light grey ‘X’ button in the upper-right corner of your post to hide the singular comment or by deleting it entirely (which appears as an option after you have ‘hidden’ the comment).
Another trick you can perform is to ban specific words from being posted. If a word you have included in your ‘ban list’ appears in a comment, the entire comment will be hidden. Unfortunately, Facebook does not have the option to moderate and review all comments or approve comments on a case-by-case basis. However, what you can do is add a comprehensive list of the most commonly used words to your ‘ban list’, and this will successfully block MOST comments.
When the situation escalates
For the severe case when a particular individual is aggressive or bothersome, you can ban him or her from your page. This person will no longer be able to comment on any of your content. If the issue is bad enough, you can also report them to Facebook where he or she can potentially be banned from the platform for an undetermined amount of time.
Perhaps the issue isn’t one particular ‘super-fan’ but maybe your business is in the middle of a crisis or upswing of negative feedback from your following. In this case, you may consider the following:
Suspending all visitors’ posts to your page. This can be accomplished in your settings.
Remove the ability to leave business reviews on your page.
Be aware this can be bad because it will negatively affect your SEO and get rid of your positive reviews.
To do this, remove your address from your ‘page info,’ and it will give you the option to “remove this place” and turn off check-ins to your page.
To disable tagging of your page, simply go to your settings.
As an absolute last resort, you can hit the panic button and unpublish your Facebook page. This isn’t quite deleting it; however, the page will not show up in searches, posts, or tags when it is disabled. You can enable it any time you want by merely signing back in.
There are several steps you can take to control the circumstances before letting it get to this point. Always begin with the gentle approach; it is best received and leads to the most diffused situations. But in less-than-ideal situations, there are several things you can attempt before closing off altogether. For additional tips on how to deal with these types of stressful situations, read this list of 10 tactics for handling haters on Facebook.
Virginia Marion Bullard is an intern with Axia Public Relations and a senior at the University of Florida College of Journalism. Virginia is based out of Jacksonville, Florida and has a passion for crafting blogs and short stories for everyone to enjoy.