I have been distracted from blogging for several months, but now I’m back with a haunting realization: today I became my own social media nightmare: I am that repeat commenter who does not like your product, yet continues to frequent your Facebook page.
As someone who has run multiple social media accounts for multiple businesses for multiple years, I’ve seen plenty of these people: They clearly don’t like your page or what your organization stands for, yet they seem to interact with your site all. the. time.
Here’s the story: I recently got engaged, and started following some of the bigger wedding planning sites on Facebook to get ideas. There’s a problem with that: I am a cranky, frustratingly logical person, and the way wedding sites condescend to their audiences drives me up a wall.
I am not meant for the circles that discuss the burdens of plus ones and how to keep your seventeen bridesmaids from killing each other.
Instead of moving on and recognizing that there are resources that might serve me better, I have turned to irate comments. It’s only happened twice, but it’s twice too many. I know better.
So, in the spirit of getting myself back on track, here are my five tips for dealing with people like me:
- Decide if the comment needs a response. Are they blowing off steam, or is there a valid complaint?
- Acknowledge legitimate queries. Everyone likes to feel listened to. While it’s best to let the cranks go away on their own, if there’s even a kernel of truth in what they’ve said, respond—and respond with kindness and humility.
- Go off-the-wall. Let your complainer know you care, but don’t hash out the details on your Facebook wall. Take it to a direct message, email, or even a phone call.
- Make sure it doesn’t happen again.—if you can. If your grammar was poor, you can fix that. If your business is battling bad publicity, you may have to soldier on.
- Ban with care. There is a time to banish unpleasantness from your accounts. If the discussion gets abusive or language gets foul, it is absolutely appropriate to quietly delete the post and ban the user.
As with all things, preparation is key. Have discussion guidelines written in advance and post them—few will complain about the rules if they know what they are in advance.
That’s it for now—happy mediating!