More Monday: To Delete or Not to Delete…

By Posted in - More Monday on December 12th, 2011

To delete or not to delete....That is the question.

We’ve all faced this dilemma. Realizing that it’s generally good practice to leave negative comments up on a company’s Facebook page (ChapStick definitely learned this lesson the hard way), we’ve also come to the conclusion that there’s a lot of gray area.

According to Russell Working of Ragan.com, it’s OK to delete fans and/or comments under several circumstances. First off, and definitely the most obvious, is that it’s OK to delete fans’ comments that make hurtful, derogatory or defamatory personal statements about other fans on the page, including brand administrators. Second off, he writes, it’s OK to kill trolls, or anyone who posts inflammatory, extraneous or off-topic messages on your page. But what about when the answer’s not so obvious?

Building social media strategies as well as managing day-to-day interactions for our clients makes us no stranger to dealing with questions, complaints and issues. However, one particular fan of a client’s Facebook page recently tested our dislike for deleting and blocking.  Because we so commonly advise to let negative comments live (typically along with appropriate responses), we went through several weeks of back and forth, in attempts to be helpful.

This included our timely responses saying we were sorry to hear of the issue and thank you for contacting us, along with the information the customer needed to correct her issues – as determined by our client’s customer service process. We also worked closely with our client’s customer service team, and we knew they were making every attempt possible to help her. Still, she continued to post her initial complaints on the page, again and again. Additionally, she created a Facebook page “boycotting” our client and made posts to the wall from this account, in addition to her personal page.

Despite what we tried to do to help, she persisted in posting the same information multiple times, and furthermore, was misrepresenting the situation. She was hijacking the page! While a few other fans cried uncle, we also noticed that our normal level of positive interactions was declining. Our loyal fans were being robbed of what they loved about and expected from the page.

After careful (and painful) consideration, we decided to ban the fan. We have never had to do this before (and hope to never have to do it again), but ultimately, her excessive posts were taking away from other fans’ enjoyment of the page. In total transparency, we simultaneously blocked her and posted about why we did it on the wall.  In response, we received only positive comments (some said thank you!) from other people who like the page.

It was a difficult decision to make. Do you think we did the right thing? Have you ever encountered something similar? How do you handle negative comments? As always, we’d love to hear your thoughts on this More Monday!

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